The Equity Initiative Fellows are early-to-mid-career professionals from a range of backgrounds, disciplines, and life experiences, who share a passion, determination and vision to advance social justice in health in Southeast Asia and China
Fellows are dynamic emerging leaders with innovative ideas and the courage, conviction, and capacity to bring lasting improvements to their communities and the world.
Fellows are working to tackle some of the today’s most pressing issues in Southeast Asia societiesand China such as: ensuring universal access to primary health care , and, addressing the pressing challenges of women and children, migrants and refugees, ethnic minorities, the poor and disadvantaged, and those ravaged by humanitarian criseis. Read below how our Fellows are making a difference in the region!
NUR FAJRINI MATJALINA
Nur Fajrini Matjalina is a scientific officer in the Department of Scientific Services, Ministry of Health in Brunei Darussalam. In this role, she provides scientific analysis to public health safety and law enforcement agencies. She also facilitates internships for students within the department. A strong STEM advocate, Nur aspires to ignite a passion for STEM among children, students, and young adults, especially young women, by providing them with better access to learning opportunities related to science, technology, and innovation.
Nur also focuses on the issue of childhood obesity, and she has been involved in a community work group called Glow Up Within, which was launched by a group of young leaders from different ministries. In collaboration with the Health Promotion Centre, Ministry of Health, the group is developing plans for early education on the benefits of mindful eating and active lifestyles among children and young adults. The group also collaborated with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Religious Affairs on a school outreach program.
During her PhD studies, Nur managed a project that led to three patented products. In 2015, she and her colleagues founded Smart Coating Technologies Sdn. Bhd. to commercialize the project’s first licensed product.
Kaneka Keo serves as the Inclusion Mekong Regional Water Governance Project – Phase II Manager for Oxfam. Oxfam is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality in order to end poverty and injustice, and it works with partners and allies in about 70 countries to support communities as they build better lives for themselves. In her role, Kaneka has responsibilities for project management, financial management, human resource/talent management and development, and donor relations and fundraising. She finds meaning in applying her skills and knowledge on gender equality, disability, and social inclusion in the context of natural resource management and agricultural development.
Kaneka embraces a feminist leadership approach to address health equity and social justice in the environmental sector. In her project work, she promotes a feminist model of power sharing to ensure that women, especially indigenous women, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in the Mekong region receive equal treatment and care. Kaneka contributed to the development of a joint statement on women leaders and their journey to environmental justice at the Global South Women’s Forum in 2021 and to the Global Political Declaration of Indigenous Women for the Second World Conference on Indigenous Women.
Manila Prak is the Team Lead of the Healthcare Accreditation and Regulation, USAID Enhancing Quality of Healthcare Activities (EQHA) through FHI 360, Cambodia. FHI 360 is an international nonprofit working to improve the health and well-being of people around the world. In Cambodia, FHI 360’s health programs address prevention, treatment and care related to HIV, sexually transmitted infections, substance use, tuberculosis, malaria, and other health needs. Manila’s key responsibilities focus on healthcare accreditation, in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH); the system of licensing for private health facilities, also in partnership with MOH; and providing support to the five Health Professional Councils in Cambodia as they develop standards and scope of practice for nurses, midwives, physicians, dentists, and pharmacists.
Manila’s fields of expertise are healthcare accreditation and nursing leadership. She is passionate about healthcare accreditation, as she sees this as a means to improve healthcare services across healthcare facilities in both the public and private sectors. She has been involved in the development of Cambodia Hospital Accreditation Standard. She also had a leading role in establishing the Cambodian Association of Nurses, oversaw the association’s work for 10 years, and served as its president from 2019 to 2022. In 2020, Manila was recognized as one of the 100 outstanding women nurse and midwife leaders by Women in Global Health.
Li Wang is a practitioner and advocate of disability rights. She is now working as the Program Development Manager for the Inclusion Factory, a social enterprise that hires people with intellectual disabilities and promotes the inclusive employment of the community. In her role, she develops family support projects, job coach training sessions, and disability awareness workshops. She also promotes inclusion advisory projects as a new module, which encourages corporations to directly employee people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the conceptual and technical support to do so.
Li’s greatest passion is for the well-being of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Having a family member with an intellectual disability has given her a better understanding of equality and diversity, of how to respect others and be respected, and of what constitutes a better life. Working a documentary project in 2014 was an awakening for her, as she met compelling activists for disability rights who changed her perception of disability and opened her eyes to the potential of inclusive employment. As a non-disabled person with disability experience, she now finds that her most important contribution is to play the role of interpreter and facilitate interaction between the disability and non-disability communities.
Tianwei Long brings his background as a former tech scout as well as a caregiver to his role as Chief Innovation Officer at Illness Challenge Foundation. Illness Challenge Foundation is the largest patient umbrella foundation in China, with a focus on rare diseases. Tianwei manages innovation activities within patient communities and with partners such as researchers, entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies, with the goal of promoting patient-driven innovations that will respond to their unmet needs.
Tianwei see his mission as transforming the role of patients from passive research subjects into more active roles as innovators and bringing a new mindset to physicians, researchers, pharmaceutical professionals, and others engaged in healthcare. He thinks this approach can be especially powerful in the rare disease community, where the lack of available treatments often drives patients and caregivers to innovate for themselves. Through the Inno4Rare co-creation process that Illness Challenge Foundation launched in 2021, patient communities and start-up communities have identified 14 unmet needs shared among different rare diseases and initiated more than 10 pilot projects. Tianwai draws inspiration for strengthening the voices of patients and their family caregivers from his father’s experience of receiving two liver transplants and his mother’s role as his primary caregiver.
Yiwei Chen (Echo) is the founder of Wonder Sir, a nonprofit platform designed to improve understanding of rare diseases among the public and medical professionals in China. Echo trained as a biologist, earning her PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 2013, and she worked as an R&D scientist to develop innovative gene therapies for rare diseases. Due to the rarity of each individual disease and scattered populations, patients face numerous difficulties in accessing diagnosis and treatment, and they often are affected by discrimination and social marginalization. Given these barriers, Echo decided to use her deepened understanding of rare diseases to raise public awareness and medical knowledge of rare diseases. In 2016, she founded Wonder Sir to empower rare disease communities through scientific communication, skills training, public advocacy, and connecting patient communities with various stakeholders. Under her leadership, Wonder Sir has served approximately 100 patient communities with rare diseases across China.
In 2021 Echo organized a pro bono course in popular science and genetic counseling, called “Wonder under the Rainbow,” to eliminate barriers between patient communities and future medical professionals. She also serves as a member of several professional associations and academic communities related to rare diseases.
AGHNIA DIMA ROCHMAWATI
Aghnia Dima Rochmawati is an Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Specialist at East Ventures Pte. Ltd., a venture capital firm, where she is responsible for sustainability reporting and the integration of ESG into the operation and strategy of the firm. Prior to joining East Ventures, Dima had six years of experience at the United Nations, most recently as the Gender and Climate Finance Officer at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Indonesia, where she worked together with government on several issues such as climate finance, gender mainstreaming, blue economy, circular economy, and impact investment.
Dima graduated from Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia, and is passionate about advocating for health equity and social justice, especially in climate crisis. Dima believes that climate change and public health issues are interconnected, and she launched a new initiative in December 2022, called Indonesia Climate and Health Association, to bring together a network of professionals working at the intersection of climate change and public health.
Gigih Septianto is the co-founder and executive director of WeCare.id, an Indonesia-based crowdfunding platform that aims to close gaps in healthcare financing through collective philanthropic actions. WeCare.id enables patients and medical communities, including hospitals and other organizations, to fundraise and seek donors for their priority medical needs. Gaining access to adequate healthcare is a primary goal of WeCare.id as Indonesians living in underprivileged areas often need to self-fund the cost of getting to places with medical facilities capable of treating their conditions.
Gigih’s goal of improving access to care first took root as a child, when his parents opened a small village medical clinic. Witnessing patients seeking treatment and alleviation from pain made him understand the importance of access to care and ultimately motivated him to design a platform to facilitate access. When COVID-19 struck, Gigih and his colleagues adjusted WeCare.id’s operations to coordinate contributions, operate warehouses, and distribute personal protective equity to more than 3,000 healthcare providers across the country. In addition to his work with WeCare.id, Gigih is an active member of Global Shapers Community, a youth network under World Economic Forum, and he nurtures a small community that provides mental health support for entrepreneurs called @foundingwell.
Made Wikandana (Wikan) is Disability Inclusion Officer for UNICEF Indonesia, who works to ensure that disability inclusion practices and approaches are implemented where UNICEF works in Indonesia. In this role, he supports different sections of UNICEF to exchange knowledge, collaborate with representative of organization of person with disabilities (OPDs), and ensure its programming areas and operational framework are always disability-inclusive. He currently is involved in a project to generate evidence on the situation of children with disabilities in Indonesia, where it will help to strengthen UNICEF future’s work on disability issue.
Four years after going blind at age 13, Wikan read an article about a blind person who was able to travel the world despite his blindness and study in top universities around the world. That experience awakened a dream in him to see the world, and ultimately led to his passion for working in the field of international disability development. Wikan sees great potential in assistive technology to transform the lives of persons with disabilities and create more inclusive environments, and his goal is to ensure that such technology be made accessible and affordable. He brings to this mission his skills in working with grassroots organizations, his curiosity to learn, and his genuine knowledge and experience striving for disability inclusion.
YUSTINA YUDHA NITA
Yustina Yudha Nita is a public health and medical practitioner and now works for USAID Momentum Country and Global Leadership as a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Specialist for Cluster Timor – East Nusa Tenggara. The main goal of the program is to improve maternal and newborn health in targeted areas of Indonesia by enhancing capacity to deliver maternal, newborn, and child health services; strengthening community engagement; improving data quality; and other means. Nita’s main task is to provide health technical standards and health guidance related to the main intervention of the project. She also continues to practice as a medical doctor, gaining deeper insights into the health issues of community members and public health concerns of her region.
Working as a contract doctor in a remote area of NTT Province was a turning point in Nita’s career, as it highlighted for her that women and children in remote communities often lack access to quality health services. This prompted her to develop expertise in public health and health system strengthening, with a particular focus on health financing and health workforce management. She has helped raise awareness and promote action through her support for the working group that developed to Road Map and Acton Plan for Stunting and Maternal – Newborn Death Reduction in NTT.
Souliya Channavong is a Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Immunization Officer at the World Health Organization Lao Country Office. In this role, she coordinates with the Lao Ministry of Health on the immunization program for both COVID-19 and routine vaccines. She also is responsible for monitoring the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance, investigation, and causality assessment, as well as strengthening and capacity building for healthcare workers regarding the AEFI surveillance system. At the start of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, she initiated and managed a team of 20+ volunteers to support the Ministry of Health in organizing mass vaccination sites. She also led 40+ university students on a house-to-house vaccination project in rural areas of Laos.
Souliya believes that primary healthcare is a human right and that vaccination is a crucial part of disease prevention. This motivates her efforts to provide essential health services to populations that are hard to reach, often due to ethnic disparities or limited infrastructure. She has developed creative means to educate communities about health, such as using Hmong community influencers in a video to overcome vaccination hesitancy. She also enjoys creating graphics, content, and video to empower young people.
SI THU HTIN AUNG
Si Thu Htin Aung works as a coordinator for Swissaid Myanmar, managing a small grant fund. The primary focus of the program is to strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations in the upland areas of Myanmar to deliver effective services to vulnerable communities. Si Thu is passionate about helping vulnerable populations achieve health equity and his commitment follows two tracks: meeting the practical needs of vulnerable groups and building local capacity to strategically prepare for and respond to crises. His earlier experience working on drug policy dialogues gave him an appreciation for building ground-level understanding of health issues, taking a bottom-up approach to policy development, and the importance of social justice in policy formulation.
Through his work at Swissaid Myanmar, Si Thu was able to work with civil society organizations and local groups to deliver timely and effective support during the peak of COVID-19. He helped coordinate the roles of various stakeholders, such as donors and community partners, and contributed communications and management skills to these efforts. Si Thu also serves as a volunteer lecturer at Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT), Yangon, sharing experiences and teaching students about community development, and has written articles for policy journals.
Wai Lwin is a health adviser at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the British Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar. In this role, he helps deliver the vision of the UK’s International Development Strategy and FCDO’s ambition for global health and provides policy, technical, and operational advice to ensure effective delivery of health programs for vulnerable people. He is particularly engaged in with UK health institutions that are helping to address health workforce challenges in Myanmar. He also supports regional programs focusing on drug-resistant malaria and global health security.
Throughout his career, Wai Lwin has been committed to translating equity and key social principles into development programs. He is especially passionate about advocating for mothers and children to receive essential healthcare, particularly in terms of vaccinating children and making contraception accessible to women and girls. He initiated a community system to help pregnant women safely deliver their babies by working with midwives, villagers, authorities, and other stakeholders to identify and overcome barriers to quality delivery care. This experience gave him an appreciation for the roles and influence of key community actors, and how strategic engagement with them can lead to sustainable solutions.
EI MON ZAW
Ei Mon Zaw is a medical doctor and public health specialist serving as the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Project Manager at the Suwannimit Foundation (SNF) in Mae Sot, Thailand. SNF is a local Thai foundation that works with its partners to deliver essential services to marginalized communities living along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Ei’s primary responsibilities at SNF include overall management of three SRHR projects, supervision of team members, monitoring and evaluation of projects, reporting, coordination with different stakeholders, and facilitating the overall growth and development of SNF.
In her work, Ei has witnessed inequity in healthcare services, including in SRHR services for migrant and internally displaced populations. She has been involved in SNF’s development of a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum that can be used both in school and out of school in border areas of Myanmar-Thailand and in ethnic-controlled areas of Karen State in Myanmar. She successfully initiated a new SRHR and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) project in Nansang township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar. Ei also aims to raise awareness of SRHR among adolescents and youths, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values that will empower them to realize their own rights and improve their personal and professional development.
NAW MAY LYAR SOE
Naw May Lyar Soe is the Assistant Manager of Fundraising & Grants for the Mae Tao Clinic, an internationally renowned community-based organization that provides and advocates for an equitable and essential heath system, education, and protection for vulnerable and displaced people living along the Thailand-Myanmar border area and in eastern Myanmar. In this role, May Lyar identifies grant opportunities from a wide range of donors including international government agencies, INGOs, private foundations, individuals; manages donor relations; and strengthen monitoring and reporting systems. She also supports the critical work of the community-based organizations and ethnic health organizations that partner with Mae Tao Clinic to respond to the health needs of vulnerable populations.
May Lyar’s mother is an ethnic health worker, and her example inspired May Lyar’s goals of improving access to health services for people in remote and conflict affected setting, and empowering community members to participate in higher-level planning and policy-making processes. She also is passionate about helping youth develop and realize their personal, career, and leadership goals. Besides her main job, she also serves as a mentor to aspiring youths living in a refugee camp along the Thai-Myanmar border, through the IRC-Wedu Mentorship Programme for Resilience and Self-Reliance.
GUNENTHIRA RAO SUBBARAO
Gunenthira Rao Subbarao is a specialist in public health medicine, currently working as a Senior Principal Assistant Director in the Medical Development Division, Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysia. At the MOH, his main roles include planning, monitoring, and evaluating various programs under the Medical Development Division. Dr. Gunen has experience in policy and implementation work related to communicable and non-communicable diseases, and he has engaged with various ministerial agencies and non-governmental organizations on numerous public health programs.
A turning point in Dr. Gunen’s life was when he was given an opportunity to do research on marginalized groups as part of his PhD program. For his doctoral thesis, he conducted a mixed-method study on factors contributing to depression among incarcerated people. Inmates held in prisons or detention centers are disproportionately affected by communicable and non-communicable diseases, mental health problems, substance abuse, and many other issues. They also tend to receive inadequate healthcare before, during, and after incarceration, which further exacerbates their disadvantages. Dr. Gunen is passionate about advocating for policies that can improve the health equity of this vulnerable group, and he has facilitated an intervention model that includes various mental health interventions, religious programs, social events, health activities, harm reduction strategies, and other components.
Madiyarasi Vengidasan (Mady) is a dentist working in the public sector with Malaysia’s Ministry of Health. Mady also is the founder of Dental Relief Malaysia, an organization that provides free dental services to refugee, marginalized, underserved, and undocumented communities, and the co-Founder of Little Happiness Project, a social enterprise that sells bamboo toothbrushes to raise funds for her outreach missions. Her passion is to provide oral health services to underserved populations, and she enjoys delivering services in a mobile setting and creating a strong connection between health professionals and community residents.
Mady was twice selected for Mycorps Missions, a humanitarian initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and has served on missions in Cambodia and Lebanon. During a water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) mission in Cambodia, she noticed the oral healthcare among villagers was neglected. That inspired her to gather a group of young dentists to conduct small-scale service missions targeting local communities in Malaysia. Since then, she has conducted 12 outreach missions locally and internationally. In the future, she hopes to open a full-fledged charity dental clinic that will provide accessible, high-quality treatment at a subsidized rate to refugees, low-skilled migrant workers, and other underserved communities.
Nadirah Babji currently is a postgraduate student in gender studies at the University of Malaya. Her research interests are in healthcare preparedness in addressing gender-based violence (GBV) and the gender bias in healthcare. Trained as a doctor, Nadirah has been involved in responding to disaster and humanitarian crises throughout the world. She has worked with major international nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNHCR, and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPFF). She is passionate about community health, sexual and reproductive health, and disaster response.
Nadirah’s interest in women’s health deepened during her time as a senior humanitarian program officer at IPFF, where she worked on provision of Minimum Initial Service Packages (MISP) to disaster-affected communities. She also is interested in examining the impact of climate-related emergencies on sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, and raising awareness of how the rate of GBV increases during disasters. She has led disaster response operations in Serbia (migration crises) and Indonesia (Typhoon Seroja operation); co-facilitated capacity building in community-based health and first aid and epidemic preparedness in Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan; and developed capacity for the Malaysian Red Crescent Society on sexual and gender-based violence.
FARIDA TIBORON MANGCAAN
Farida Tiboron Mangcaan is head of office for the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) Sub Office in Iligan, located in the northern Mindanao area of the Philippines. She is a social worker committed to social justice, peace, and development, with interests focusing on humanitarian action, emergency management, child protection, mental health and psychosocial support, nutrition and food security, among other issues.
CFSI is a humanitarian organization committed to peace and social development, that works primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. Farida’s primary responsibilities are leading CFSI’s field operations in northern Mindanao; serving as focal point on issues related to child protection, preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment; and participating in CFSI’s Emergency Response Team.She leads field-level implementation of the Marawi COVID Recovery Project that CFSI leads, with funding support of DFAT-Australia. The project is designed to enable 4,000 households to recover from the early economic and psychosocial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through collective efforts to prevent and respond to infection, improve the quality of life, strengthen relations between people, and promote greater prospects for peace. Farida also lectures and leads seminars on a wide range of topics, including social work practice, disaster risk reduction and management, child protection and gender-based violence.
SABRINA LAYA GACAD
Sabrina Laya Gacad is the founder and director of Lunas Collective, a feminist, volunteer-powered helpline and care space for people who experience gender-based violence, or discomfort and distress related to their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health. Lunas Collective also offers sexuality education that encourages people to seek help when necessary, and to build healthy relationships with themselves and those they love. In her research and work with Lunas Collective, Sabrina is exploring the many ways that health and social welfare services can be improved to offer empathy and care as the first response to the personal experience of systemic inequality, and then help people take steps towards their idea of safe, pleasurable, and meaningful lives.
Sabrina also is an assistant professor and the current chair of the Department of Women and Development Studies of the College of Social Work and Community Development at the University of the Philippines. Earlier in her career, she was a staffer in the House of Representatives during the years leading to the passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. That experience, as well as her research on teen pregnancy, inspired her to focus on issues of gender, sexuality, and development.
ALBERTO TEODORO MALVAR
Alberto Teodoro Malvar (TJ) is the lead coordinator of the Dr. Rosita G. Leong Primary Health Care Hub (RGL Hub) and a faculty member at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. The RGL Hub aims to make healthcare more accessible for all through a strengthened primary health care approach. TJ and his colleagues are working on implementing programs that capacitate primary health care providers: primary care physicians, nurses, midwives, and village health workers. They are also exploring the use of telemedicine as a tool to improve access to primary care doctors and medical specialists, especially in remote areas.
Five years ago, TJ moved to Barangay Calawis, an upland community in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains, with the intention of uplifting the health status of the Calawis community. TJ serves as a community doctor in Calawis and as a barangay councilor, in charge of the committee on health. In 2021, he received a grant to put up his own medical clinic, serving Calawis and neighboring communities. In addition to his health-related work, TJ is an advocate for environmental protection, and he founded Forest Bathing MNL, an organization that encourages people to reconnect with nature.
CHRISTIAN JAMES NAZARETH
Dr. Christian James Nazareth is an island doctor in Siargao Islands in the Philippines. A general practitioner of medicine with a master’s degree in public management for health systems and development, he works with various organisations for health systems design and innovations for geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities. Recently, he worked as one of the lead doctors in the implementation of a Cuban system service delivery network which was piloted in different island communities in southern Philippines.
Doc James, as his patients fondly call him, was a Doctor-to-the-Barrios (DTTB) under the Philippines’ Department of Health from 2016-2018. During those years, he was the lone doctor in a small island community, an experience that exposed him to the deep realities of health inequity and transformed his way of practising medicine and public health. Coming from this experience, he came up with the Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Academy, a project recognized as one of the national winners for Social Innovation in Health Initiative in 2021. He led the design of a comprehensive training program and manual for community health workers in marginalised communities. Since then, the manual has been translated into three languages and the program has trained more than 3,000 community health workers in over 50 municipalities in the Philippines.
Adisorn Juntrasook is an educator, researcher, writer, and advocate for social change, who serves as Dean of the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education, Thammasat University. The Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education is the youngest faculty at Thammasat University, and it aims to change society for the better and make a difference through education. Adisorn’s fields of expertise include education, leadership, transformation, and creative arts, and over the course of his career, he has worked on projects relating to health equity, social inclusion, and social justice in Thai society.
Adisorn is especially passionate about the health and well-being of LGBTQI+ students and young people. While serving as Vice President for Student Affairs at Thammasat University, he proposed a new, university-wide policy of zero tolerance for discrimination against individuals based on their gender or sexuality; he also set up a university committee to promote a safe environment for students of gender and sexual diversity. At a national level, he led a survey on economic exclusion and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals funded by the World Bank and a study focusing on the needs for supporting service of the LGBTQI+ population and health service providers, funded by Thailand Health Promotion Foundation.
Anond Kulthanmanusorn is a medical doctor and public health specialist with four years of experience working in district hospitals in a rural province of Thailand. He recently graduated with a Master’s degree in public health from King’s College London where he worked on issues of inequities of healthcare utilization in Thailand. Currently, he is a research fellow in health policy and systems at the International Health Policy Program, a research institute under the Ministry of Public Health. Anond’s work focuses on primary health care (PHC) in urban settings, universal health coverage (UHC), health equity, and access to health service. In this position, he advocates for evidence-based health policies that incorporate multiple perspectives – including those of policymakers, healthcare providers, users, and others. His most recent project “Evaluation on a PHC network policy in UHC scheme” focused on strengthening PHC services for a low socioeconomic group. During the pandemic, he was a core team of a health professional volunteer group named “CoCare”. His platform provided a free teleconsultation for covid-19 patients who unable to access to care and outreach covid testing for migrant workers. Around 75,000 consultations and 25,000 covid testing were served by 450 health professionals during nine months of the operation.
Patipat Susumpao is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Opendream, a social enterprise that engaged the public in public health and enables problem-solving through digital technology. Opendream has pioneered participatory disease detection in Thailand and, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it developed Sabaideebot, a chatbot for COVID-19’s participatory surveillance. The company is currently focusing on building an AI-driven health threat detection and management system for city governments in Thailand.
Patipat enjoys solving complex problems by bridging different specializations, drawing in different perspectives, and making effective use of technology. For example, he has co-designed games for anti-corruption education. He also sees a role for non-medical professionals in responding to public health problems. The participatory disease surveillance system he co-designed and developed was recognized by the 2020 MIT Solve competition and by the 2021 Trinity Challenge for its efforts in turning farmers into disease detectives.
Suebpong Charoenmechaikul is an Executive Director at BridgeAsia, a strategy execution and capability-building firm, and a Founding Board Member at Aetria, a health systems design and data platform technology social enterprise. His work with these two companies reflects his belief that accessible and affordable health and well-being is a basic human right. BridgeAsia works with organizations, including hospitals, to adopt new technologies and transform their operations. Working with top teaching hospitals has helped Suebpong realize that much more can be done to help make the health and well-being ecosystem more equitable, accessible, and affordable through the adoption of new perspectives, strategies, people motivation and engagement, and technologies. That recognition helped inspire the creation of Aetria, under the joint stewardship of Ashoka Fellow Dr. Kongkiat Kespetchara and Singapore Exchange (SGX) Listed Company Executive Jeannie Ong, with the goal of transforming health and well-being systems in Thailand, and perhaps around the world, using data-informed solution platforms.
Suebpong and his colleagues recognize that doctor consultations, medical procedures, and medicine represent only partial solutions to health challenges. That has prompted him to start exploring some of the social determinants of health – a livable wage, safe and affordable housing, education, and preventive primary healthcare – and to seek like-minded partners to assist in systems design that will lead to positive health and well-being outcomes.
Guteriano Neves (Gute) is the coordinator of the research and analytic team of PROSIVU, a program funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, implemented by DT Global to support the Government of Timor-Leste on inclusive economic growth, public finance, and public administration. In this role, he conducts research and analysis on economic development policy, fiscal policy, and public finance management; coordinates the research that underpins the priorities of the PROSIVU workstreams; and engages with government and civil society to disseminate research findings, and promote dialogue. He also is an independent policy analyst who regularly writes and comments on Timor-Leste’s economic development policy and political economy of, as well as a lecturer at Joao Saldanha University, teaching economic development and public finance.
Much of Gute’s work over the past 15 years has focused on how Timor-Leste’s existing economic structure, which relies excessively on petroleum revenues, affects the country’s long-term fiscal sustainability, resource distribution across different groups, equity, political economy landscape and social and economic justice. He is passionate and an advocate for just, sustainable, and inclusive economic development model, through economic diversification and development outcomes can be shared equitably among different groups of society. He believes marginalized groups should be given the means to participate in development policy-making and contribute to better outcomes.
MARCELO AMARAL MALI
Marcelo Amaral Mali is a medical doctor and the Deputy-Secretary of the technical advisory group for Saúde na Familia. Saúde na Familia is an integrated model for the provision of primary healthcare in Timor-Leste with a particular focus on the family unit, through regular home visits and continuing care; its design incorporates principles of universality, equality, equity, continuity, completeness, and confidentiality. Marcelo’s role encompasses research to support the program’s strategic plan, advising on health policies, developing best operational practices, and ensuring the necessary technical support.
A medical doctor, Marcelo is passionate about improving primary healthcare services in ways that center the needs of the family. He joined the Ministry of Health in 2014 and was placed in a rural community for a year to provide clinical assistance. This experience was a decisive point in his career, and helped him better understand the needs of local communities, their lack of access of health information and services, and appropriate interventions. He was subsequently promoted to serve as Regional Coordinator for Saúde na Familia (2015-2018) and then as National Coordinator (2018-2019). These roles have strengthened his commitment to engaging community members in identifying barriers to health services, addressing neglected problems, and developing solutions.
LE HOANG PHONG
Le Hoang Phong is the founder and chief executive officer of YOURE Organization, which helps disadvantaged Vietnamese students learn English and other skills that will improve their prospects for the future. He also is a care leaver advocate with 30 years of lived experience with SOS Children's Villages Vietnam. Care leavers are adults who spent time in care as children, and they may carry trauma from their past, struggle with their identity, or face discrimination. Phong himself grew up in the care of an SOS Children’s Village, after both his parents died when he was an infant.
In 2020, Phong served as one of the organizers of the 1st Care Leavers Convention (virtual), which hosted 2,300 participants from more than 80 countries. In 2021, on behalf of eight care leaver groups from around the world, Phong submitted the first Care Leavers Declaration to UNHCR, Committee On The Rights Of The Child, for a day of general discussion on "Children’s Rights and Alternative Care" during the 88th session of the Committee at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Phong received his bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Education in Ho Chi Minh City.
MAI QUANG ANH
Mai Quang Anh is the director of WeCare Social Enterprise, a community-based organization thatpromotes health equity and social justice for vulnerable populations. Quang Anh collaborates with community leaders, community-based organizations, social enterprises, governmental agencies, and other organizations to disseminate effective healthcare models and reduce stigma and discrimination at healthcare facilities. He and his colleagues have collaborated with the Center for Training and Research on Substance Abuse and HIV (CREATA-H) at Hanoi Medical University on research and projects related to addiction, mental health, and HIV, including the PrEP prevention program to support high-risk populations such as MSM, sex workers, and transgender women.
Quang Anh’s deep passion is promoting health equity for vulnerable people in LGBTQI communities, especially supporting people affected by HIV. He has acted on this passion in a variety of ways: implementing research findings related to HIV prevention and intervention; leading an outreach and communication team to recruit participants for research, intervention, and treatment programs; and working with a multidisciplinary team to provide counseling services on sexual and mental health to underserved populations. He also has collaborated on campaigns and talk shows to raise awareness about sexual health, mental health, sexual diversity, and PrEP medication for young people.
Sivutha is a social health protection specialist at the General Secretariat for the National Social Protection Council in Cambodia. In this role, his primary duty is to push forward the “Moving Toward UHC in Cambodia” reform agenda. With the goal of generating robust, insightful, and contextual policy options for social health protection, he conducts policy research and develops UHC-related policy documents and content to support the reform process. He also liaises with stakeholders in the field both to harness their resources for UHC reform and to advocate for the reform agenda. Ensuring that poor and vulnerable populations can access sufficient, and affordable, quality health services without financial hardship is a complex process, he finds, and his work on helping to develop the UHC concept, drafting the UHC roadmap, advancing smaller work packages under the roadmap, conducting research activities to shed light on each package, stakeholder advocacy, and numerous other steps are integral to the success of the reform agenda. Sivutha expects that the Equity Initiative will give him a better understanding of health equity frameworks, values, and actions, which will be valuable to him as he begins drafting a roadmap for achieving UHC in Cambodia.
Sreypeov is the head of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Puthisastra where she leads a team to provide quality nursing education at the associate and bachelor degree levels. Originally trained as a clinical nurse, she currently is involved in revising the national curriculum for nursing, particularly updating the content of courses on human pathology and nursing skills. She also works with a private company to educate stakeholders about proper nutrition for different age groups. In her earlier work with an international organization, Sreypeov managed an “Electronic Medical Library” project, which developed a database and trained users to find information to improve their clinical practices. The library continues to operate, through a public hospital, and new generations of doctors, nurses, and students continue to benefit from its resources. She is deeply interested in promoting women’s health and care for the elderly, and she also wants to increase global warming awareness among health care workers. Sreypeov hopes her EI fellowship will help her clarify a path toward her goal of establishing a retirement center to take care of chronic patients and the elderly whose children have migrated to other countries, as well as strengthen her leadership skills.
Dong is an assistant professor in the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also is the principal investigator of the Rare Disease Real-World Data Lab at the Shenzhen Research Institute. In 2014, Dong launched a long-term ethnographic study on patients and their families affected by rare diseases in mainland China. Her work has shown that these patients frequently lack equitable access to diagnosis, treatment, social care, and other opportunities. Dong believes that data can help policy makers and the public grasp the scale of such problems, so in 2016 she initiated the General Social Survey of Patients with Rare Diseases in China (GSSPRD). The GSSPRD has been conducted three times, and it will eventually become an open database that allows researchers and the public to explore the burden of diseases and other health care problems faced by rare disease patients in China. Dong also is interested in migrant health issues, and she currently leads three major research projects on primary health care for South Asian migrants in Hong Kong. She is eager to collaborate with patient communities, scholars, and all stakeholders to raise the profiles of rare diseases in Asia.
Haibin is the founder and executive director of Easy Inclusion, a diversity and disability inclusion consultancy, and secretary general of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network China Chapter. He brings to these roles a passion for creating equal access to employment, promoting vocational rehabilitation, and empowering public systems for persons with disabilities (PWDs). In 2007, when Haibin was a student at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center, he visited several of Heifer’s projects in Sichuan province. Seeing how Heifer integrated respect for human dignity into its poverty alleviation work was a turning point for him, and he decided to join the cause of supporting human dignity, especially for marginalized people. Today much of his work involves applying the human rights standards in Chinese businesses. Haibin’s most recent initiative was the “Ten Cities Initiative,” a skills development campaign for students with disabilities through a collaboration with government, enterprises, universities, and social organizations. He also coordinated pilot projects to incorporate supported employment for PWDs into the five-year national disability development plans. Through the Equity Initiative, Haibin expects to access additional sources of information on health equity and social inclusiveness and broaden his network, in ways that will strengthen his work on behalf of PWDs.
Benny is a psychological researcher, global mental health advocate, and mindfulness and compassion trainer. He currently serves as South East Asia Regional Lead in the Global Mental Health Peer Network. He founded Into The Light Indonesia (Yayasan Insan Teman Langit), a youth based suicide prevention community in 2013. He also is involved in several international collaborative research and programs aimed at reducing suicide stigma and building community members’ capacity for suicide prevention. Benny started his suicide prevention work as he found very little information about suicide prevention in Bahasa Indonesia, and he also was disturbed about the way Indonesian online news outlets sensationalized and stigmatized suicide news. Those experiences motivated him to work with allies and the National Press Council on developing Indonesian suicide news reporting guideline, which was published in 2019. Benny is particularly interested in meeting the needs of marginalized groups, who tend to have higher rates of suicide and self-harm ideation, yet often lack access to mental health services. He hopes the Equity Initiative will help him find ways to develop compassionate mental health care within Indonesia’s health system so that it will become more accessible and inclusive to marginalized groups.
Egi Abdul Wahid
Egi is the program director of the Centre for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI) – a local NGO focusing on sustainable development issues, especially health system strengthening and health policy advocacy. He is responsible for the quality of a broad range of efforts related to improving human resources for health, community involvement, policy and budget support, data accountability and good governance. Egi’s passion for providing quality health services, especially to vulnerable groups and in remote areas, caught fire seven years ago, when he was working as a community health nurse in a remote area. The huge gap between the quality of health facilities in urban versus rural areas became immediately tangible to him, prompting him to pursue a master’s degree in primary health care and then put his energy into the field of strengthening primary health services. Now, at CISDI, he manages the Pencerah Nusantara Initiative; this “healthy archipelago” program provides benefits to more than 500 health centers and reaches more than 10 million people throughout the country. Egi hopes that exchanging ideas and experiences with EI Fellows from other countries will help him better understand equity issues and learn about innovative ways to reduce inequities in health services.
Putri Widi Saraswati
Putri is a global sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) & public health professional and consultant from Indonesia, who has worked for more than seven years on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equity in clinical settings and with civil society. She is a medical doctor, and also recently received a master’s degree in public health from a university in the Netherlands and is currently doing research and projects on health system strengthening and health financing in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). She also is co-authoring a study about COVID-19 vaccination safety for vulnerable populations, leading a youth ambassador program, and serving as a scientific committee member of an Indonesian professional organization focusing on adolescent health. Putri brings keen interests in intersectional feminism and social justice in health to her work as a health professional. She primarily focuses on marginalized populations, which she sees as the focus of her broader mission of realizing health for everyone – across different intersecting determinants of health and identities globally, regionally, and nationally. She is active in using social media to educate and advocate for gender and health equity. Through the Equity Initiative, Putri looks forward to engaging with Southeast Asian professionals and finding new opportunities to collaborate on global health equity.
Rosadalima Dee Panda
Rosadalima (Rosa) is a change-seeker who develops community-driven programs for WASH in Southeast Asia (WISE) to strengthen the voices and power of communities and build solidarity across borders to create change. In this role, she leads and initiates the implementation and development of projects related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), education and ecotourism. She leads and manages the team and in handwashing education in schools and sanitary education for teenagers program. She is a member of an organization that supports young farmers, serves as a volunteer for a local foundation, and develops a platform for ecotourism and environmental awareness in her area. Rosa changed the direction of her career when she left her position with a private company in Jakarta to earn a master’s degree in environmental engineering and then returned to her hometown of Nagekeo, East Nusa Tenggara in 2018. Adjusting to life in her hometown after years in Jakarta initially was challenging, but she has found satisfaction in joining forces with others who want to develop a community and serve the young people who live there. Rosa hopes the Equity Initiative will enrich her experience in health equity and open new opportunities for collaboration in community development.
Anan is the founder and president of Proud To Be Us Laos, which is among the first civil society organizations in Laos promoting equal rights for the LGBTQI community. Anan oversees the overall operation of the organization, and coordinates its relations with government, international development, and civil society partners. He leads Proud To Be Us Laos’ advocacy efforts, which focus on three priority areas: fair and equal provision of sexual health care services, removing stigma and discrimination against LGBTQI in educational institutions, and ensuring equal employment opportunities. Anan is passionate about the social inclusion of marginalized populations, and he believes that a nation will not be able to reach its development goals unless people from all walks of life are included. Prior to forming Proud To Be Us Laos in 2012, he worked as an AIDS activist, calling on national stakeholders and international organizations to view the LGBTQI community as an important resources in the collective fight against HIV/AIDS. He was instrumental in organizing the first pride event in Laos in 2012. Anan expects that the viewpoints of other EI Fellows will give him a broader understanding of equity issues and will generate a synergy they can direct toward innovative solutions.
Chandavieng (Meenoy) is a member of the academic staff at the Faculty of Public Health, University of Health Science. Meenoy draws on her experience working on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to prepare the curriculum and course work for subjects related to adolescent SRH, HIV/AIDS, family planning, and gender equality. She also serves as a research team member for public health projects related to health and gender inequality. When Meenoy worked as an outreach worker and trainer for the Vientiane Youth Center (2010-2020), she found that young people often lacked access to accurate information about sexuality, and there are few teachers trained to educate adolescents about SRH. She promoted SRH to young people in Vientiane and some provinces through mobile and outdoor activities at schools, factories, and public spaces. She also trained more than 500 young people to be peer educators and peer volunteers capable of promoting accuracy in SRH education, providing basic counseling, and referring young people with SRH concerns to youth-friendly health services. As an EI Fellow, Meenoy expects to gain a deeper understanding of health justice and to find ways to link her work at local and national levels to regional efforts.
Collins is a medical doctor who is training to become a disaster specialist through the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Program organized by the University of Oviedo (Spain), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), and University of Nicosia (Cyprus). In 2013, when he was a medical student in Bangladesh, Collins founded the MExchange – a pilot project that works to build community resilience and empower vulnerable communities through health care and education in the Chittagong and Cox Bazar regions. Since then, the MExchange hashelped nearly 4,000 patients gain access to primary health care services, built schools, and worked with grassroot communities in the development of sustainable solutions. Collins particularly interested in community-led initiatives and developing localized and sustainable solutions. He also is an innovator: in 2019 he was part of a five-person team that conceptualized the idea for an ultra-low cost bCPAP device that could be used for neonatal asphyxia. Collins currently is working on a project that aims to reduce risk and better prepare local communities across Malaysia and the ASEAN region to respond to disasters. Collins sees his EI fellowship as an opportunity to develop new skills in the field of community empowerment and to network with like-minded professionals on sustainable solutions.
Eaint Thiri Thu
Thiri is a freelance researcher and documentary producer whose work focuses on conflict and human rights. She also works as a fixer, a profession that draws on her expertise as a journalist, tour guide, interpreter and serves as a bridge between different cultures, languages, and people. She has worked as a freelancer for international organizations and media outlets for ten years, reporting on political, social, economic and conflict issues of Myanmar, and she has produced two award-winning current affairs documentaries. She also has conducted field research and helped with reports and advocacy for human rights organizations. In December 2019, she took over the operation of a small bar and restaurant in Yangon, which features ethnic foods from Northern Shan State, Chin State and Kachin State and creates income generation opportunities for people in conflict-affected areas. Thiri’s vision is that the venue will serve a hub for journalists, activists, and artists; an environment where people can eat healthy foods; and a business that respects the rights of employees and integrates equity concepts into the workplace. Thiri hopes to engage with Fellows from a wide range of disciplines so that she can further develop her ideas for upgrading food quality and health equity.
Naw Pue Pue Mhote
Naw (Tee Tar) is the deputy director of the Burma Medical Association (BMA), and she also serves as a coordinator for a network of partner organizations called the Health Information System Working Group. In this role, she is responsible for all program and office activities and for taking strategic decisions regarding programs, development partnerships, and future directions. She has led efforts to develop an evidence-based health information platform for ethnic and community-based health organizations, drawing on data from all partner population surveys on health and human rights abuses. The ultimate goal for her project is to set up an information lab that will support evidence-based decision making and raise awareness in the international community about health and human rights abuses in minority ethnic settings. Tee Tar views access to health care as a fundamental human right, and she is committed to improving the health status of vulnerable communities in neglected areas through data gathering, research, raising awareness at local and international levels, and advocacy. She hopes she can use the new knowledge and broader skills she develops through the Equity Initiative to set up a research hub for groups that facilitate ethnic minority health in Myanmar.
Nay-Lin, a medical doctor by training, works as a program manager for a local organization that focuses on social cohesion and pluralism among diverse communities. In this role, he manages programs that help vulnerable communities in remote, hard-to-reach, and conflict-affected areas of Myanmar access health services and provide financial assistance to injured civilians who need emergency referrals to private hospitals. Having seen how unequal economic development translates into inequity in health services, Nay-Lin has a strong commitment to working toward formulating a sustainable health system in Myanmar and developing policies that will reduce the out-of-pocket health expenditures. Nay-Lin experienced a turning point in his career in 2017 when he went to the northern Rakhine areas. Witnessing people’s suffering and discrimination firsthand compelled him to initiate mobile health clinics and speak out about health care challenges in the media. On a voluntary basis, he is coordinating international donations and grants to field medical teams in Sagaing, Magway, Kachin, Karen, and Kayah regions. Nay-Lin was invited to speak to diplomats at the G20 meeting in Rome in 2021 about developments in Myanmar. In joining the Equity Initiative, he hopes to explore global perspectives and local actions that can lead to health equity solutions.
Jose Augustus G. Villano
Augustus (Agah) is a planning officer and the acting head of the Policy and Planning Unit of the Commission on Population and Development – the lead agency promoting the Philippine Population Management Program to 72 local government units in Region IX. Agah is concerned about the health disparities that women from ethnic tribes experience. In his policy work, he advocates for grassroots projects that benefit women from indigenous communities. He is interested in conducting sociological studies to grasp the needs of marginalized communities. An observational study in Zamboanga City inspired him to develop a peer-to-peer program to support men towards responsible parenthood and family planning. He developed an initiative to help nomadic Sama Badjau women improve their health-seeking behavior, practice family planning, and strengthen their capacity in income-generating enterprises. He is currently working on institutionalizing the Dumalinao Municipality Teen Hub: a convergence venue for youth to access information and services to reduce teen pregnancies and other risky behaviors. He also mentors the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum and Adolescent Reproductive Health convergence in Dipolog City. Through the Equity Initiative, Agah hopes to strengthen his leadership skills, better understand the social determinants of health, and expand his professional network.
Maria Shairra A. Pacia Bello
Shairra is the co-founder and Behavioral Insights and Innovation Head at AHA! Behavioral Design -– an agency that uses applied behavioral science to embed culture-changing behaviors in diverse communities.She manages a portfolio of behavioral nudge projects in the areas of public health, financial inclusion, and active citizenship. In 2020, she worked with the Department of Health (DOH) on a program to increase the practice of wellness behaviors among COVID-19 healthcare professionals. This program is earmarked to be part of DOH’s strategic policy plan as the first mental health program for public hospitals. Through her previous roles in community development, Shairra noticed how marketing campaigns and education drives did not always lead to positive behavior change as seen through repeated patterns of knowledge-action gaps. This led her to research on the science behind behavioral change. Her long-term vision is to build up the capacity of leaders to use Behavioral Design to incite healthier and more productive behaviors that will enable Filipinos to live happier lives. Through thee EI fellowship, Shairra looks forward to being part of a co-learning environment and to learn best practices for systems change, which she can utilize to develop the Philippines’ first Public Health Behavioral Change Lab.
Noel L. Bernardo
Noel started his career as a Doctor-to-the-Barrios, delivering care to underserved communities in geographically-isolated areas of the Philippines. Together with his team in Batanes, he advocated for the establishment of an interlocal service delivery network, initiated drafting of investment plans for health, encouraged adaptation of technology in health processes, and promoted risk reduction and disaster resilience. Noel also was the incident commander of Inter-Sectoral COVID-19 Task Force, whose policies helped to minimize the effect of the pandemic. In 2021, Noel joined the Philippine Red Cross, where he lead the clinical services of the organization. He also managed various COVID-19 response programs such as the national vaccination program and community-based isolation facilities. Moreover, he is the Director of the Philippine Red Cross COVID-19 Emergency Field Hospital, the biggest tent hospital complex in the country dedicated to COVID-19 treatment. To date, he continues to serve as a humanitarian physician, public health consultant, and pandemic response lead for various public agencies, private groups, and non-government organizations. Through his EI fellowship experience, he hopes to become better equipped with the knowledge, skills, and network to promote healthy, resilient, and sustainable communities where everyone's health is prioritized and protected – before, during, and after disasters.
Yves Miel H. Zuniga
Yves is the co-founder and deputy director for policy and partnership at MentalHealthPH, a youth-led social advocacy organization that uses social media and digital technology to promote mental health in the Philippines. Yves has spearheaded the organization’s online and on-the-ground campaigns, which have motivated other Filipinos to organize MentalHealthPH in their own cities and regions, and he represents the organization in policy discussions and dialogues with the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and other key stakeholders. He is committed to leveraging the power of information to change the inequitable mental health service landscape in the Philippines. Yves’ background is in health systems, health policy, and health technologies. Previously, as a senior health program officer with the Department of Health – Health Technology Assessment Unit, he co-led assessments on different health technologies, including COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. He also co-authored the new implementing guidelines on health technology assessment, which aim to better inform policy, coverage, and funding allocation on health technologies. Yves believes that his Equity Initiative experience will help him grow in his role as a thought leader in public health, especially in terms of policy and advocacy for equity.
Chan Chi Ling
Chi Ling holds a dual appointment as deputy director at Open Government Products and Singapore’s Ministry of Health. She is responsible for setting up an experimental sandbox for health tech, and she also drives reviews of technology policies to create new space for modernizing health tech infrastructure. She is involved in building new systems for medical social workers, and digitizing referral workflows for clinicians to support policy shifts toward improving population health. Her overall goal is to build products that bring joy to users, empower patients to take greater ownership of their health, and free up clinicians’ time to deliver better patient-centered care. Chi Ling applied her health tech expertise to meet new demands during the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her team developed Singapore’s COVID-19 Management Backbone, a central data depository and exchange gateway that allowed test and vaccination data to flow seamlessly across government and citizen-facing applications. She initiated and launched the Singapore Healthcare Corps to train and deploy nurses, swabbers, and support care staff critical health care roles amidst a manpower crunch. Through the Equity Initiative fellowship, Chi Ling hopes to expand her field of vision and deepen her understanding of health and societal challenges regionally and globally.
A physician and public health specialist by training, Clive is the director for integrated care planning in Singapore’s National Healthcare Group. He brings deep expertise in data analytics to this position, which he uses to facilitate system-level improvements and transform the delivery of care serving close to two million people. He and his team are taking steps to plan for and operationalize health care and service delivery in ways that will better reach underserved populations and respond more effectively to those who have poor health and complex health needs. Clive previously served as a medical officer in the Singapore military for 16 years in various operational, leadership, and planning roles. During his military service he developed more than 10 data dashboards to analyze a range of health issues. He also is a founding member of the Precision Public Health Asia Society, where he currently leads a team on developing a white paper on “Responsible Data Sharing in Health and Healthcare”. He serves as an adjunct assistant professor with various public health schools and programs in Singapore. Clive looks forward to sharing in the Equity Initiative’s infectious positive energy and being part of a group committed to moving health equity issues forward.
Ada is the CEO of TaejaiDotcom, the first and largest civic crowdfunding platform in Thailand with a mission to connect citizen philanthropists with on-the-ground changemakers. Under Ada’s leadership, TaejaiDotcom has supported initiatives to make health care and other social services more accessible to the least privileged populations in Thailand, and it has been instrumental in mobilizing resources for populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her roles at TaejaiDotcom, Ada has worked in various ways to build the social investment sector, shape national and regional social investment landscapes, and engage new social impact players in Thailand and Asia. She mentors current and future changemakers and shares her expertise with other civil society organizations that aim to support, engage, and educate active citizens or empower less advantaged populations. In 2008 she set up the Thai Young Philanthropist Network (TYPN) as a means to connect people who want to build a social entrepreneurship movement in Thailand; since then, TYPN has engaged about 1,800 active citizens in public and social services and empowered 60 for-impact organizations. Ada looks forward to being part of the Equity Initiative’s multidisciplinary network, with Fellows amplifying their impact by working collectively toward shared goals.
Alisa is a lecturer and the head of the Social Development Department at Prince of Songkla University. As a sociologist, she uses her knowledge to create courses in the development and disasters curriculum. She also works with the Deep South Relief and Reconciliation Foundation, an NGO that promotes physical and mental health in conflict areas of the southern border provinces of Thailand, and is a founder and leader of the Deepsouth Women’s Network Association for Disaster Mitigation, an organization that empowers women with the skills to deal with disaster situations. Alisa’s work is driven by her belief that people should have equal access to medical care, and that everyone should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to care for themselves and their families when struck by illness or a disaster situation. To advance that goal, she applies her expertise in the causes and consequences of health and illness, investigates the social behaviors of people in remote areas, builds social networks and explores ways to improve health care delivery systems. Alisa hopes to get fresh ideas from other EI Fellows, which will help to strength her health equity work in Thailand, develop university curricula, and initiate social innovation for vulnerable groups.
Bampen (Aew) is the research coordinator for the Eco-Culture Study Group, a community-based organization focusing on ecology and health equality in local communities, especially those affected by the environmental, social, and health impacts of mining. As anthropologist, she looks for ways to increase people's participation and social engagement in the process of restoring the health of social-ecological systems. She has helped introduce community-led health assessments and other trust-based practices that aim to ensure the sustainability of ecosystems and build greater equity in decision making. Aew enjoys writing about environmental health and social justice issues, drawing on the research base of others and her own fieldwork. She has written several books and news reports that highlight the history of health injustice in the mining industry in Thailand and the need for social-ecological system health. She also is involved in projects which advocates to protect human rights in the context of natural resources extractive industries in Thailand, and she is a founder of HomDokHung, a community-based organization for the preservation of native rice varieties. Aew hopes her EI fellowship experience will help her learn a variety of cooperative processes to manage environmental and ecological systems recovery.
Ittinat works as a trainer, facilitator, and conference interpreter to foster communication and connection in the development sector. He facilitates collaboration between local professionals and international experts in such areas as climate change, financial literacy, gender, and mental health. He recently served as a national consultant for Deutsche Sparkassenstiftung (DSIK) project in northeast Thailand, a vastly underserved area of the country. The project designed financial tools, trained trainers in financial literacy, and developed strategies to access financial resources. He is a volunteer interpreter for the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, which he sees as a platform for giving people a chance to make their voices heard on crucial socio-political issues. Ittinat saw how the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the lack of mental health awareness, and he believes that introducing mental health support systems and infrastructure in workplaces throughout Thailand will tangibly improve the well-being of the entire society. That realization has inspired him to pursue an advanced degree in music therapy, with the goal of using music to heal and empower people. Ittinat believes the Equity Initiative will provide him with the knowledge, experience, and platforms that will enable him to work more directly on supportive policies and systems for mental health.
Le Quang Tram Tinh
Tinh is the senior program manager of The Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), an international development organization that trains and empowers local eye doctors, nurses, and health workers across 25 countries. Tinh has worked in the vision care sector for nearly 15 years. His current portfolio includes expanding vision care for students with national and provincial stakeholders, working with district hospitals to improve access to vision care services for vulnerable people, including women, disabled people, and ethnic minorities. Before his current post, Tinh provided technical support to a number of Asian countries as FHF’s program manager for Asia. For instance, in Laos, Tinh coordinated with the country team to implement a community eye care project in 10 provinces, and discussed options for a first-time national eye health strategy and training curricula for ophthalmic nurses and ophthalmologists. He is passionate about improving lives for vulnerable people, and dreams of a world in which disadvantaged people can work, study, and enjoy their lives without the burden of blindness. Tinh sees the EI fellowship as an opportunity to learn from experts and peers, and to collaborate on improving the lives of marginalized communities.
Nguyen Hoang Chieu Anh
Chieu Anh is a psychological counselor and pioneer educator who works with Vietnamese teachers and parents to improve mental health and social connections. She has designed educational programs in social and emotional learning, teacher effectiveness, and positive discipline in everyday parenting, among other topics; crafted lesson plans on mindfulness; and helped strengthen school psychological programs. Chieu Anh was the co-founder of several social enterprise initiatives focusing on building an ecosystem for raising a child and on harmonious relationships between schools and families. She also has been a lecturer and coordinator in the liberal education program of Hoa Sen University. The COVID-19 pandemic made Chieu Anh more aware of the challenges that medical staff face in sustaining their mental health, and that is motivating her to take action to support and improve the mental wellness of these frontline caregivers. She believes the benefits of these actions will extend from individual health care workers to their patients, families, and the health care system as a whole. Chieu Anh believes the Equity Initiative’s learning resources and peer support will help her pursue her goal of becoming a leader in expanding mental health services in Viet Nam.
Pham Thi Ngoc Bich
Bich is the coordinator for the Viet Nam Solid Waste Management Project (VnSWM) of the Federation of the Canadian Municipalities. She coordinates project activities and works with stakeholders to improve provincial solid waste practices. Prior to her role at VnSWM she participated in several solid waste management projects of the European Commission and UN-Habitat in Viet Nam. Her 18 years of experience in this field have built her knowledge of the flow of resources, her ability to assess progress, and her understanding of how cultural behavior influences the city environment. This experience also motivated her to start new projects to change young people’s attitudes toward food culture; rural farmers’ and gardeners’ practices with respect to organic foods production and processing; and change in food security and food and organic waste practices throughout society. Bich also is a strong advocate for green, open public spaces, which she sees as an integral part of a healthy and sustainable communities. She has been involved in creating a “garbage to garden” project in Dong Da District and playgrounds in Hanoi. By joining the EI Fellowship, she hopes to join forces with other Fellows to address environmental equity issues from food culture and waste management perspectives.
Tran Quynh Trang
Trang is a system strengthening program officer for the Disability Program of the International Center, an organization that has addressed the consequences of war through its service programs in Viet Nam for the past four decades. Her work focuses on improving the capacity of the health sector workforce at national and subnational levels, developing a core competency framework for physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors, and setting up assistive technology and occupational units in hospital settings. Trang has more than 20 years of experience working with disadvantaged groups, especially people with disabilities (PWDs). She has worked with the Medical Committee of Netherlands-Vietnam; the International Labour Organization, where she promoted labor rights and opportunities for PWDs; and with Catholic Relief Services, where she worked on inclusive education for children with disabilities. Trang frequently joins volunteer groups of doctors and technicians to provide medical exams for people living in remote and disadvantaged areas of Viet Nam, and she is one of the founding members of the Occupational Therapists Network in Viet Nam. Through the EI Fellowship, Trang hopes to share experiences and learning with other Fellows on how to create an equal accessibility in all aspects of life.
Noor Affizan Rahman
Noor is a Medical Superintendent at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) & PMM Hospital, where she oversees clinical services and patient safety. She is also a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Ministry of Health, working to save and preserve sight. Noor's leadership of the NIC during the COVID-19 pandemic led to her being named as one of the '50 Leading Lights for Kindness & Leadership - Asia Pacific Award' in 2022.
In addition to her work in healthcare, Noor is a passionate advocate for personal and professional development. She volunteers her time to speak at schools and organizations about community service and personal growth. In 2019, she launched You Can Lead BN, an online platform to share personal and professional development opportunities from around the world, which has helped young people in Brunei to pursue their passions and achieve their goals.
Noor's dedication to healthcare and personal development has been widely recognized, and she was shortlisted for the Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards 2019 for Community Spirit and Public Service. She hopes to become a leading voice for meaningful change both locally and in Southeast Asia, and looks forward to expanding her network and gaining experience to solve a diverse range of health equity challenges.
Fransiska Falentina Sugi
Fransiska is a researcher and the founder of Yayasan Sejuta Harapan (Hands of Hope), a local NGO working to help poor and marginalized people in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province get better access to education and health services. She is passionate about working at the intersection of research, development, and policy. Her research has focused on the impacts of climate change on food security, water, and gender and social inclusion, and she has drawn on her 13 years of public-sector experience to make strategic alliances with the government in order to scale evidence-based actions in water, food security, and livelihood sectors.
Her efforts to build the technical capacity of local institutions span rural communities in 44 villages of NTT and have helped to reduce risk to lives and livelihoods and increase the resilience of communities to all climate-related hazards. Through her leadership of Hands of Hope, Fransiska demonstrates her belief that grassroots work – in the spirit of giving back to society and working within communities – can bring both empathy and expertise to help vulnerable people improve their lives. She hopes to become an agent of change in her province in ways that will eliminate poverty and improve the quality of lives of marginalized women and children.
Alfrison is an epidemiologist and a certified health quarantine officer in the Port Health Office of Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia. He is responsible for activities as varied as responding to reports of potential outbreaks, to collecting epidemiological data of new, emerging, and re-emerging diseases, to monitoring the border health issues. Alfrison’s research focuses on HIV and sexually transmitted infections in cross-border health contexts, and he hopes that his findings will help policy makers develop more effective programs with tailored health equity goals that can address social exclusion in hard- to-reach areas of Indonesia. He developed his interest in HIV-related issues in 2010 when started working in Papua province, Indonesia’s easternmost province, which has one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence. Alfrison wants young people in Indonesia to be able to realize their potential, so in 2014 he and his friends initiated a social education movement called Kelas Inspirasi Jayapura – a start-up meet-and-greet to connect elementary students with young successful professionals who can provide motivation and share ideas about choosing professions. Alfrison is excited to gain more exposure to multisectoral approaches in addressing cross-border health challenges and enhancing the effectiveness of infectious disease prevention.
Angga Dwi Martha
Angga is a social policy specialist at the UNICEF office in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. In this position, he is responsible for developing and coordinating strategy and advocacy for child-responsive planning and budgeting of the special autonomy and village funds, including those directed to address maternal and child malnutrition. Angga has a strong interest in ethical youth leadership and he believes that young people have an important role to play in championing innovation and helping the country make progress toward achieving its Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). He co-founded Ngrobrolin Indonesia, a social movement that focuses on intergenerational and cross- sectoral discussion on equality, equity, and diversity in Indonesia. He was named one of the Young Leaders for Indonesia 2011 by McKinsey & Company and was nominated as a founding member of Cohort 2030, a group of young leaders driving change toward the achievement of the SDGs in their communities. He received the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect in 2018 and, most recently, he was named as one of the Obama Leaders: Asia-Pacific by the Obama Foundation. Angga is a passionate individual who plans to establish a network of emerging young leaders in Indonesia working toward equity and justice.
Viengnakhone is a public health lecturer and researcher of the Faculty of Public Health, University of Health Sciences, the leading institution that trains public health experts to serve the health system in Lao PDR. His primary responsibilities are teaching and supervising the research of students in the master’s degree program. His current research focuses on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and the relationship between health literacy and health-seeking behaviors in adolescents. Lao PDR has the highest proportion of teen pregnancy in Southeast Asia, with 83 live births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years.
From his studies, Viengnakhone recognized that social inequalities in access to information and the lack of confidentiality in access to reductive health services for adolescents are significant contributors to high teen pregnancy rates in Laos. Through his research, he hopes to bring scientific evidence and adolescents’ voices into the policy process in order to bring about change that benefits the younger generation. In addition to his academic work, Viengnakhone serves on the Youth Committee of the university and is actively involved in adolescent-led advocacy campaigns through video clip contests. He hopes to consolidate his work and looks forward to learning innovative approaches to address adolescent health challenges in the context of equity.
Phetdavanh Sipaseuth is a specialist in land tenure rights and natural resources management. She has a passion for working with different groups of people, especially youth and ethnic minorities, and she is skilled at helping civil society organisations (CSOs) connect with their government counterparts. She brings these assets to her role as a team leader for Village Focus International’s Land Learning Initiative for Food Security Enhancement (LIFE) Project, a consortium of more than 30 Lao NGOs and CSOs.
She supports LIFE in its participatory and interactive coaching on various land rights, natural resources, and land governance topics, and in developing its training curricula on contract farming, customary land rights, access to justice, the rights of Lao citizens to the use of natural resources, and other topics related to land tenure and food security. She also is active in the Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade process, helping CSOs to prepare position statements on recent laws and policies and present them to the Lao government. She sees this fellowship as an opportunity to expand her knowledge of equity issues in ways that will build capacity for local CSOs and communities to protect their rights to land, forests, and other natural resources, particularly the food sources they derive from nature.
Renard is an advisor to the Center for Governance and Political Studies in Kuala Lumpur, a nonpartisan, independent think tank that aims to provide objective information to help people navigate policies, decisions, and investments. In this role, he provides empirical assessments to help guide the discussions and informed decisions of policy makers, civil society leaders, educators, and other individuals. Renard has a strong commitment to combatting climate change and transforming society toward sustainability.
He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network in sustainable development. He was also actively involved in implementing the environmental agenda for Sime Darby Holding, a multinational conglomerate with operations across key growth industry sectors. For his work in climate change and sustainability, he was named one of Malaysia’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Green Warriors, one of 100 Visionary Young Leaders Leading Us Towards a Better World, and a 2018 Asia 21 Young Leader. Currently, he is driven by a strong passion for improving the lives of the elderly and helping to bridge generation gaps. He aspires to increase his experience in the Southeast Asia sustainability context and to explore innovative ways of promoting sustainable and equitable opportunities for the elderly.
TAN SOK TENG
Sok Teng is a refugee health researcher, a PhD candidate, and a President Graduate Fellow at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. Her interest in refugee health took shape in 2007 when she conducted a study on the nutritional status of Rohingya children in Kuala Lumpur. That research sharpened her awareness of the significant knowledge gaps of health-related issues among Rohingya refugees and motivated her to address this gap.
She has published her refugee research in leading national and international public health journals, including BMJ and European Journal of Public Health. Her current research focuses on three areas: examining the effects of social capital – an essential determinant of health – on the wellness of Rohingya refugees; understanding the health literacy of refugees; and building noncommunicable disease profiles of refugees. She brings to her research 10 years of working and volunteering with refugees in the areas of health, livelihoods, and community empowerment, through which she hopes to mobilize existing capacities and facilitate meaningful engagement in conducting research on migration and refugee health in Southeast Asia. She looks forward to building a network of like-minded people and linking her research to other disciplines to address the social injustice that Rohingya refugees face.
Celyn is a senior program manager of Civil Health and Development Network (CHDN), a coordination mechanism for health services of 6 Karenni and Kayan armed actors in southeast Myanmar. Celyn is dedicated and motivated to contribute her management skills and knowledge to addresses the demanding health needs of about 112,000 people living in conflict-affected areas. In her current role, she oversees the development and implementation of primary health care, maternal and child health, and malaria programs covering some of the most geographically and politically hard-to-reach places in the country. Living in conflict-affected areas has given her firsthand experience in navigating the tyranny of distance in efforts to access health services. She has found a passion for working closely with stakeholders of CHDN and trying to influence positive change at the organisation and network levels. She values the importance of developing strong partnerships with key actors of CHDN and she achieves great satisfaction from being part of the network. Her interests include access and equity in health and health services in hard-to-reach communities, especially for women and children, and developing opportunities and promoting innovative and participatory approaches to improve access to quality health services.
AMINA EVANGELISTA SWANEPOEL
Amina is a sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate. Her passion for empowering women and girls to make informed decisions about their health motivated her to co-found Roots of Health (ROH), a local NGO that provides sexual and reproductive health and rights awareness and clinical services in Palawan province. As executive director at ROH, Amina leads the development of programs and services, fundraising, and building partnerships with local, national, and international stakeholders. Under her leadership, ROH currently serves over 40,000 young people with comprehensive sexuality education and provides clinical services to over 20,000 women and girls. ROH also provides capacity building to community-based service providers to ensure young people’s access to accurate reproductive health information and non-judgmental services. In addition to her work at ROH, Amina also serves as a member of the City Local Health Board, City Maternal Death Review Board, and Provincial Family Health Board. She is a 2017 Ashoka Fellow, a 2011 Asia 21 Young Leader, and a columnist at Palawan News, Palawan’s leading online newspaper. She is interested in learning about the system change framework and its theory, and how it can be used to create a long-lasting and sustainable change on lives of the community she serves.
JASON JOHN JOYCE
Jason is a lawyer and the mayor of the Municipality of Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental. In his term as a mayor, Jason’s goal has been to transform his municipality by strengthening education and health services and enabling social programs and economically sustainable development. He has a strong commitment to promote health equity in his municipality, where 80 percent of the population are indigenous people; he sees a pathway to making progress on health equity through strengthening health, education, and social welfare programs, especially addressing issues related to HIV, mental health and depression, and LGBTQ concerns.
He brings planning and management competency to this job in order to create more responsive, streamlined, and efficient delivery of programs, projects, and services to the community. Before becoming mayor, he was an elected board member of the undivided province Davao del Sur from 2013-2016 and then was a vice mayor of Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental from 2016-2019. In recognition of his transformative leadership in Jose Abad Santos, the Civil Service Commission awarded him with a Dangala ng Bayan Award. He looks forward to building a strong network of health equity advocates and learning about the sustainable development initiatives of other countries in the region and globally.
LESLIE ANN LUCES
Leslie is a provincial health officer in Aklan province. In this position, she oversees the operations of 8 public hospitals and manages the integration of the preventive and the curative healthcare system of the entire province. She also provides technical support on health policy and advocacy efforts of local government. Prior to this position, she served as a municipal health officer of Pintuyan, Southern Leyte under the Doctor to the Barrios program of the Department of Health. After three years of professional service in remote and underserved communities, she held the distinction of being the Most Outstanding Doctor to the Barrios in 2010 and she was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Aklanon Award in 2011. With years of experience as a public health and policy specialist, Leslie is now leading the implementation of the universal health care law in her province. Working alongside the local government’s leadership, her mission is to achieve health equity and improve the overall health of all Akeanons, especially the underprivileged and the vulnerable. Leslie looks forward to growing professionally with the other fellows and to exploring new, innovative approaches to develop and maintain a people-centered health system.
SHERJAN PANGATO KALIM
Sherjan is a pathologist and head of the blood bank of Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, a teaching hospital in Mindanao. He is responsible for sustaining an adequate blood supply, blood donor and patient and recipient safety, and appropriate blood utilization. Mindanao’s cultural and societal factors present unique challenges to access blood services, so Sherjan’s approach is to foster close and meaningful relationships with communities through actively engaging religious leaders and strengthening community education and advocacy. Sherjan is also a volunteer physician of the Bangsamoro Development Agency and a founding president of their hospital’s Muslim employee’s association, whose mission is to instill moral governance in health through advocating Ibadah- friendly health facilities, to reform health education through inclusion of Islamic teachings, and to utilize mosques as a venue for health education. He is a Bridging Leadership Fellow and a national trainer of the Istanbul Protocol – a comprehensive medical documentation of torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. Sherjan is driven by his commitment to the health and well-being of Muslim communities in Mindanao and he hopes to widen his network and enhance his leadership skills to bridge social and economic divides to improve health equity in his communities.
Joanne is an associate professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University and a senior consultant in Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore. Joanne’s work is aimed at understanding the germline genetic mutation profile of cancer predisposition syndromes across different geographical cohorts and different health settings. She is leading studies on cancer clustering to bridge cancer genome diagnostics and routine oncology care. Joanne and her team helped established the Cancer Genetics Service to create a new career track for genetic counsellors and convene numerous education symposia for students and residents. In recognitions of her work, she received the National Medical Research Council Transition Awards in 2014-2016 and the NMRC Clinician Scientist Award in 2017. As a clinician scientist, Joanne is passionate about helping patients and other individuals understand how their genetics can influence their health and well-being. Joanne and her team established the Hereditary/Familial Cancer Service Line Development Project to bring together multidisciplinary clinicians across SingHealth and other institutions to establish clinical care guidelines for at-risk families. She is particularly interested in helping health systems use genomic data and implement genomics to reduce burden of diseases and to improve patients’ health outcomes.
Pianporn is the director of Thailand and Myanmar campaigns for International Rivers, an NGO dedicated to campaigning against destructive dams and protecting rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them. Born and raised in a Lisu village, an ethnic tribe located in the hills of northern Thailand, Pianporn was exposed at an early age to human rights issues through the work of her parents. Her current work focuses on protecting the Mekong River from proposed dams, particularly on Thailand’s role as dam developer and the main intended market for the hydroelectricity. A pioneer in her work with Thai and Burmese ethnic grassroots organizations, Pianporn organizes river communities to slow down dam projects that threaten the local ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who depend on the river and its resources. She forms community action groups to push for long-term policy and legislation that includes their participation in risk analysis of development projects. Pianporn is a 2006 Ashoka Fellow and a volunteer at an NGO in Chiang Rai that provides community education and support to sustainable agriculture and environmental conversation. Her birthplace, childhood, and work experience, combined with her dedication, enable her to further social environmental justice in Thailand and in neighboring countries.
Sornchai is a founder and the artistic director of “Malongdu Theatre,” a socially engaged theatre company pioneering the practices of “Theatre of the Oppressed.” His company produces plays, events, and other productions that bring together the practices of social interaction, education, healing, and activism; the goal is to engage the community through participatory theatre experience to work toward collective actions. To date, “Malongdu Theatre” has trained a few hundred people in the craft of making Theatre of the Oppressed, and produced more than 20 forum theatres, invisible theaters, and newspaper theaters. The company has been working with people with disabilities, youth and primary-school students, and the elderly, and it has explored complex issues around oppression, human rights, and social and political challenges. Two of the company productions about elderly displacement and palliative care have been particularly popular among hospitals and medical schools. As artistic director, Sornchai integrates his multidimensional skills into creation of theater performances, facilitation of inter-group dialogue, and teaching. He is also principal investigator of the Functional Aesthetics Group and a member of Leadership Development Network for Health, and he was a speaker at 2019 TedX Charoenkrung. Sornchai seeks to develop the capacity of social change makers and seekers to stand up for social justice.
Thorn is a lecturer, researcher, and assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University. Graduated in the fields of development studies and social policy, Thorn is passionate about deepening his understanding of socioeconomic impacts and political factors in order to advance policies to improve social welfare. In his doctoral thesis, “The Limits of Community Participation,” he drew on his knowledge of economics, politics, and anthropology to examine and evaluate Thailand’s experience in promoting community participation to address social and development challenges. He recently completed a research project to inform the Education Equity Fund of Thailand on ways to improve the performance of assistance programs supporting poor students and reduce inequality in education. Thorn also is a member of the Faculty Board and a coordinator of the Faculty's Center for Research on Inequality and Social Policy (CRISP). His goal is to lead CRISP to become Thailand’s hub for academic and policy advocates who share a passion for promoting a more equitable society. Thorn regularly writes columns for online media and gives talks and presentations at public seminars. He loves reading novels and he currently is experimenting with applying storytelling techniques in academic teaching to explain issues such as conict, social justice, and inequity.
SARA MARIA PEREIRA
Sara is a national disability inclusive development adviser at the Governance for Development (GfD) Cardno, a program that supports the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve sustainable economic and human development goals. In this capacity, she is providing technical support to disability and development stakeholders through capacity building and informed evidence-based interventions. Working with a disability inclusion technical team and international experts, she assumes responsibility for ensuring that projects address the needs and concerns of people with disabilities (PWDs). TIMOR-LESTE EI FELLOWS 1 2018 2020 Carmen’s passion is to work towards a just and equal society through fair, inclusive public policy formulation and implementation. She is a recipient of a number of awards, including the Australian Day Awards for outstanding work during Australia’s response to the 2006 humanitarian crisis in Timor- Leste, a 2016 Asia Foundation Development Fellow, a founding member of the Rotaract Club of Dili, East Timor Crisis Reflection Group, and “Hari’i Moris Foun,” a community-based organization for women’s literacy. Currently, she is focusing on a new project to educate the public and raise awareness on public policy through helping policy makers communicate better on current and new policies.
Sara has 15 years of experience in the health and education sectors, working field-based needs assessment, and data and policy analysis. While serving as a liaison officer at the Office of the Prime Minister, she helped establish the Social Audit Unit to assess the social impact of health and education programs and policies and she has facilitated the process of analyzing information obtained from social audits to provide feedback to the government. Sara aspires to increase her experience in systematic research and sharpen her analytical skills in order to promote sustainable and equitable opportunities for vulnerable populations in Timor-Leste.
Trang is a concert pianist, music educator, and founder of Wonder, the first social enterprise in the field of music and music education in Viet Nam. She is passionate about enabling others to see wonder in the arts and to experience their transformative power, especially through music. As artistic director of Wonder, Trang curates the contents and storylines for concerts and music lessons in ways that will foster connections and spark creativity in families and in the community. She initiated the Miracle Choir & Orchestra project to provide free weekly music lessons to orphans.
Her goal is not only to help less-privileged children have equal opportunities but also to help build up their emotional resilience and healing. Trang played active roles in developing the new musical curriculum for Grade 1 students in primary schools. She was able to adapt the world’s most advanced music education methods in formulating the new curriculum that takes into consideration the diverse background of ethnic minority children. Trang is an associate of the Royal Academy of Music, a judge for international music competitions, and a member of Crescendo Music International Teacher Conference. She looks forward to working across disciplines and cultures to promote empathy and social and cultural understanding through the power of music.
LE KHAC BAO
Bao is executive vice director of the Medical Education Center, the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City. In this position, he oversees the development and delivery of the medical education agenda and the training programs for faculty members. He is also a specialist on lung diseases, a faculty member, and the vice head of Lung Diseases Department of Nhan Dan Gia Dinh Hospital – one of the biggest state-owned teaching hospitals in the south. In his academic work, Bao seeks to develop capacity for high-quality medical education and better healthcare quality at his university and his teaching hospital.
He completed his master’s studies in medical education at Harvard in 2018, and he was the first Vietnamese student to receive dual scholarships from Fulbright and Harvard Medical School. He is passionate about helping young health professionals develop their technical skills and mindsets. He is co- founder of the HCMC Respiratory Society, a social- professional association to provide mentorship, coaching, and creating opportunities for professional developments. Currently, he is involved in the reform of medical education programs in Viet Nam. Bao believes that by integrating transformative medical education into reform and building innovative ideas into curriculum development, Viet Nam can produce well-qualified doctors to match the population health needs.
Sean Sok Phay
2019 EI Fellow, Sok Phay Sean, is an activist and the Executive Director of Child Helpline Cambodia. His actions have brought substantial response from the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, such as passing the minimum standard and policy for the protection of the rights of victims of human trafficking in 2008. It also includes influencing the response from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication such as developing and operationalizing a free child helpline telephone for children, young people, and their families to connect and access comprehensive helpline service inclusive of legal assistance, medical and humanitarian assistance package, pyscho-social services, and other direct services that they need.
SAM OEUN SAM
Sam Oeun Sam has worked for more than 17 years to improve health equity for poor and vulnerable people, most recently as managing director of Buddhism for Health (BfH). Sam Oeun believes that community-based organizations can experiment with innovative approaches to provide care to vulnerable populations, which can then be evaluated, replicated, or scaled up to meet the needs of greater numbers of people. Sam Oeun and his BfH colleagues have been introducing Community Managed Health Equity Funds (CMHEF), a self-sustaining community contribution mechanism designed to improve access to quality healthcare services. Through their efforts, CMHEF now covers a population of 140,000 in Cambodia, including elderly poor and people with disabilities. Sam Oeun also is chairman of the Social Health Protection Association, a member-owned organization that promotes community-based health insurance in Cambodia.
Zhang Kun is president of the Evercare Health Group, which owns more than 10 hospitals in China and is promoting a digital healthcare service that uses mobile applications, cloud computing, and big data technologies to deliver better care and enable physicians to spend more time interacting with patients. A medical doctor by training and currently pursuing a PhD in healthcare leadership and management, his goal is to use technology to ensure that healthcare is respectful to patients, responsive to individual differences and values, and supportive in guiding patients toward their own decisions about clinical care.
Kun also is building an online network to share information across China on people-centered integrative care. He was previously the CEO of Chunyu Yisheng, a leading mobile health company.
Zhang Yunting is an assistant professor at the Child Health Advocacy Institute, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, where she leads a team conducting population-level studies on early child development (ECD). Yunting believes that ECD is not only about children and their families, but also a cornerstone for sustainable development in every region and every country. She has developed ECD evaluation tools and established a surveillance system in Shanghai, which she aims to expand throughout China, and will generate data to compare ECD in developed areas with rural areas. Her research has indicated there are regional disparities in early childhood development, which can lead to persistent inequities without effective interventions. Yunting is chief secretary of the Child Health Alliance of the National Children’s Medical Center, a professional network of leaders in child care systems from 29 provincial areas of China.
Xiao Long is an associate professor on the faculty of Peking Union Medical College Hospital and deputy director of its Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. As a medical educator, clinician, and researcher, Xiao has devoted her career to the treatment of lymphedema and soft tissue tumors. Her passion for helping children is evident in her volunteer work, performing free surgeries for poor children with cleft lips and palates in China. She has also helped raise awareness about health promotion and disease prevention as presenter for a popular TV health program. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Doctors by China Youth Daily.
A commissioner of the Yogyakarta Hospital Supervisory Board, Rennta Chrisdiana has been an advocate for consumer protection, patients’ rights, and health-related issues for more than 20 years. In her current work, she represents the interests of consumer advocacy groups by engaging with hospitals and relevant stakeholders to monitor the implementation of patient-centered care. She is enthusiastic about introducing health social workers into Indonesia’s health workforce, as a means of going beyond physical care to meet the emotional, social, and cultural needs of patients. Rennta is particularly interested in the needs of poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged groups and has been exploring ways that universal health coverage in Indonesia can empower them to secure quality care. She also is the chairwoman of Rumpun Nurani Foundation, an NGO that promotes social, education, and economic means to empower families.
Goris Mustaqim is the founder and chairman of Asgar Muda Foundation, a social enterprise that focuses on youth education, youth entrepreneurship, and community development. His passion for improving the health of women and children in remote rural areas of Indonesia inspires his collaboration with an NGO in West Java, Garut Health Home, to develop data-driven approaches to identify and better manage high-risk pregnancies and to monitor the growth of children. Goris also is the founder and director of Semut Nusantara Consulting, which advises companies and government agencies on how to transform their social responsibility strategies for greater impact on community development. Goris was one of the 5 finalists for the 2018 ASEAN Social Impact Awards and was a recipient of a Global Peace Award for Service from the Global Peace Foundation in 2011.
BLANDINA ROSALINA BAIT
Blandina Rosalina Bait is a nutrition officer in the UNICEF Field Office in Kupang, Indonesia. She provides technical support to the local government to address malnutrition (stunting, wasting and obesity) in children under 5 and adolescents. Blandina is a strong advocate for models of intervention that combine knowledge of nutrition with an understanding of the social determinants of health – such as a safe food supply and access to clean water – and with recognized roles for family and community members. Blandina successfully led the field implementation of UNICEF’s landmark research project on the management of severe acute malnutrition, which was conducted in partnership with Indonesia’s Ministry of Health and other partner agencies; she also contributed to the effective scale-up process of this life-saving intervention. Blandina has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of nutrition, food security, early childhood development, child protection, and humanitarian work.
Vannaphone Sitthirath is a media consultant, film producer, and journalist, working in Laos. She is devoted to filmmaking and performing arts and is the cofounder Lao New Wave Cinema Production. She also serves as media advisor to ProCEEd (Promotion of Climate-related Environmental Education), which produces educational materials to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting Lao people. Vannaphone’s mission is to develop socially responsible documentaries of life in her country and the region, which can convey messages about social, health, and environmental issues. She produced a magazine program for Laos national TV that spotlighted cross-border issues such as human trafficking and HIV/AIDS. She has had films included in a number of film festivals and training workshops hosted by NGOs and UN agencies. Her documentary film "So Close" won a special prize at the 2008 International Women's Film Festival in the Philippines.
Phetdavanh Leuangvilay is a technical officer in the World Health Organization's Lao PDR country office, where she is a member of the Health Emergencies Programme. In this role she helps government agencies strengthen their health emergency preparedness and response systems, supports the development of the public health workforce, and improve their decision-making during crises. This work and her life experience coming from a poor rural family have persuaded her that an effective emergency response system requires engaging a variety of stakeholders across society and giving particular attention to the needs of vulnerable populations affected during emergencies. Phetdavanh has frontline experience in responding to such emergencies as multiprovincial dengue outbreak and to extreme flooding in Attapeu province. She sees great value in employing a collaborative, multisectoral approach to ensure strong health systems and promote health equity.
LETCHIMI DEVI DORAISMY
Letchimi Devi Doraisamy is a Grants Officer with DAI. For the past 15 years she has worked to address the development, livelihood, and community service needs of asylum seekers and refugees. As a university student and a social worker supporting the cause of plantation laborers, urban poor, and factory workers, Letchimi expanded her horizons to social activism. Her participation in awareness campaigns for voting rights, minimum wage, affordable housing, and other causes exposed her to innovative approaches that she brings to her current humanitarian work.
In her current role with the UNHCR she implements technical and vocational skills training, entrepreneurship development, multipurpose cash grants, employment counselling, and other initiatives to build up the human and social capital of some 4,000 refugees each year.
RAUDAH MOHD YUNUS
Raudah Mohd Yunus is a lecturer in public health, researcher, social activist, and writer. She teaches family health, population dynamics, health of the marginalized, and global health at the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA.
Her research on older adults, the urban poor, and human trafficking kindled her interest in the care and protection of vulnerable groups and motivated her to co-found an NGO called READ Malaysia (Relief, Education & Development), which promotes the welfare and education of urban poor children, including refugees. Raudah has published two books: Displaced and Forgotten: Memoirs of Refugees (2017) and Tales of Mothers (2015), a book on motherhood and special needs children that was awarded second prize for best English book (non-fiction category) by the Malaysian Readers’ Choice Award in 2017.
Gideon Cauton is the director of investigations and law enforcement development for the Manila Field Office of the International Justice Mission and a member of the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center Advisory Council. He leads a multidisciplinary team of legal advocates and social workers in protecting vulnerable populations from violence, exploitation, and sexual trafficking. Gideon works with a range of stakeholder groups, including the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, and service providers, to support legal system reforms that will expand access to education and health services. Belonging to an indigenous people in Northern Luzon called the Igorots, Gideon catalyzed his desire to ensure that all people have equal access to opportunity and basic services. He draws from a range of experience as an investigation agent with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation, as a lawyer, and an educator, and is also passionate about removing the stigma associated with single parenthood in the Philippines.
ALFREDO MATUGAS CORO II
Alfredo Coro has been municipal mayor of the Municipality of Del Carmen, a community of 20,000 in the Philippines, since 2010. Alfredo’s previous experience was in corporate management rather than government, but he believed he could apply his expertise in technology and business development for greater impact as a political leader. Alfredo considers low family income to be a major contributor to health inequity in rural communities, and he sees opportunities for proper governance, economic and social development, and community leadership to improve health outcomes in Del Carmen and other communities. During Alfredo’s tenure as mayor, Del Carmen has been recognized by the Philippine government with the Seal of Local Good Governance and as a Top 5 Champion for Health Governance, among other honors.
Paul Gideon Lasco is a physician, medical anthropologist, and writer. He teaches anthropology at the University of the Philippines and writes a regular column on health and social issues for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. His travels and field experience throughout the Philippines have given him opportunities to hear the aspirations and anxieties of marginalized people, as well as to better understand their outlook for health. Those encounters have made him an advocate for using qualitative methods – particularly ethnography – to facilitate mutual understanding between health professionals and people seeking care, which ultimately can improve health and social outcomes. Gideon’s research includes the politics of healthcare and health systems, medical populism, and barriers to care, and his advocacy work focuses on drug policy reform, social medicine, and universal healthcare. Gideon was named one of the "Outstanding Young Scientists" of 2022 by the National Academy of Science and Technology in the Philippines.
Natarajan Rajaraman is the executive director at Maluk Timor and has extensive international experience, particularly in grassroots efforts to strengthen the capacity of the health workforce to provide primary care to vulnerable populations. He has worked on health systems projects in Singapore, Timor-Leste, and Sierra Leone, taking steps to set up mobile health clinics and village health centers; mentoring community health workers; training district health workers; reforming medical education; and supporting quality improvement of emergency departments of national health service providers. Living in developing countries has exposed Natarajan to stark inequities in health outcomes, which inspire his work with marginalized communities and his commitment to outreach and mentoring.
Rapeepong Suphanchaimat serves as a medical officer with the Field Epidemiology Training Program of the Bureau of Epidemiology and a researcher for the Ministry’s International Health Program. He advocates for evidence-based health policies that incorporate multiple perspectives – including those of policymakers, healthcare providers, users, and others. Migrant health is a continuing theme in Rapeepong’s work, both in the professional positions he has held and in his community work to support migrant communities. In 2015 he was part of a team that assisted the Deputy Health Minister to expand health insurance coverage to an additional 200,000 stateless people living in Thailand. He has served as a member of the Social Determinants of Health Working Group, appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister, and on several other committees on public health in the region.
Panusart (Midnight) Poonkasetwattana is the executive director of APCOM Foundation, where he works to advance the rights, health, and well-being of people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Midnight is passionate about social justice, social inclusion, and equity, particularly in terms of developing strong community-led and community- owned HIV responses and LGBTI rights programs. Midnight’s current projects at APCOM Foundation include social media campaigns to promote HIV testing, regional data collection to improve health access for young people, and advocacy for economic inclusion of LGBTI people. Originally from a rural community in northeast Thailand, Midnight was honored to deliver the closing plenary statement at the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS at the UN General Assembly.
Kritaya Sreesunpagit is the founder and board member of the Why I Why Group, an independent organization working to promote youth participation. She is particularly interested in mental health issues and in helping people achieve their goals by creating networks of support and removing the obstacles to that prevent them from reaching their full potential. She is especially interested in providing emotional support to healthcare professionals.
Kritaya brings an entrepreneurial approach to her work in a range of fields, as a consultant to Vajira Hospital, as a trainer specializing in personal and organizational transformation, as a developer of games, and as a translator and interpreter for volunteer organizations. She was a 2004 Ashoka Fellow and was recognized as a 2009 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Ratawit Ouaprachanon is an educator at Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies. Peace, justice, and conflict transformation in Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand have been the underlying themes of his work and studies over the past decade, and in his current role he conducts research on political reconciliation and conflict transformation in Thailand. Earlier in his career he was involved in a peacebuilding and governance program in Myanmar, facilitating a learning process for civil society groups and communities concerned about community empowerment and non-violent conflict resolution. He also engaged in cross-border campaigns and advocacy to Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission that focused on the impacts of Thai investment projects in Myanmar. Ratawit has used games and other innovative approaches to develop leadership skills and mobilize community participation.
LE THI NHAT
Le Thi Nhat is a project manager for the ICRC MoveAbilityFoundation, an organization that strives to make it easier for people living with disabilities (PWDs) to access qualified rehabilitation services. Nhat experienced paralysis as a child and she had the opportunity to receive appropriate orthotic care and physical rehabilitation. Those early experiences have made her a passionate advocate for raising awareness of PWDs and the barriers they encounter. She is working to expand access to prosthetics and orthotics and is currently involving in a policy project to advocate for state health insurance to reimburse the cost of mobility-assisted devices. Nhat is drawing on her contacts in Viet Nam and outside the country to build a network of physical rehabilitation professionals to exchange ideas on care and policy.
NGUYEN QUOC THANH
Nguyen Quoc Thanh is a member of the board of curators of the Nha San Collective, a group of independent artists in Hanoi. As a member of the board of curators, he participates in the Collective’s programming that supports and challenges artists, creates artist networks, and offers space for new forms of expression and dialogue. Thanh believes that art opens up channels for community engagement and to convey messages on sensitive issues. His art projects such as “Queer Forever” celebrate queer art and culture, facilitate community conversation to address the stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ people, and help build an enabling environment for marginalized populations. His work contributes to the creation of a strong network of artists and activists in Viet Nam and Southeast Asia with interests in art, social inclusion, and equity. A collection of his photography, “A Soldier’s Garden,” has been included in exhibitions in Viet Nam, Korea, Thailand, and the United States.
PHAN THI NGOC LINH
Phan Thi Ngoc Linh is the chief executive officer of the Center for Healthcare Improvement Research, a social enterprise in Ho Chi Minh City that provides training and consultation on quality improvement to public and private hospitals in urban and rural areas. Linh encourages hospitals to adopt an internally driven assessment process in order to improve the institutional quality of care and provides a human resources capacity building model that helps health care providers understand the need for quality improvement in clinical care and in relationships with patients. A former pediatric surgeon, she is now actively promoting greater networking, information sharing, and collaboration among healthcare professionals. The Society for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, which she founded in June 2016, now has more than 24,000 members.
Lo is Director of Preah Vihear Provincial Health Department, Cambodia. In this role, his main focus is to improve the quality of care for all patients across all health facilities in the province regardless of social barriers, class, race, or political aﬃliation. He works to improve access to health information and health services, especially for remote patient populations, and he spearheaded an initiative to support high-risk pregnant women. Previously a hospital director and provincial HIV/AIDS program manager, Lo is a medical doctor by training with expertise in public health. Lo is chairman of a provincial working group in health and collaborates regionally in cross-border meetings for sharing health information.
Fan is Vice Chancellor of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine and a consultant for the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the National Health and Family Planning Commission. A pediatrician with a public health background, Fan believes that early child development is the foundation for a country’s economic and human development. Her research focuses on social and environmental change and child health and she is currently involved in a national-level large-scale early child development intervention program in Shanghai and rural western China. Fan serves as a chair of the Chinese Pediatric Sleep Committee and a chair of the Chinese Child Health Care Association.
Jin is a lecturer on health policy and systems research at the Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University. Jin earned his PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is mainly interested in studying how to strengthen primary care as a crucial platform for health equity improvement. He has published various papers in well-recognized journals like BMJ, Social Science & Medicine, and Health Policy & Planning. His work also involves transferring knowledge about health systems strengthening for China and other low- and middle-income countries.
Jin was the inaugural board member of Emerging Voices for Global Health, representing young researchers and actors from the Western Pacific Region.
Sophie is a medical doctor and co-founder of Selamatkan Ibu, a movement to raise awareness of the maternal mortality rate and promote maternal health in Indonesia. She also co-founded Lentera Indonesia Foundation, a support group for sexual abuse survivors, where she acts as Public Awareness Coordinator. She is the founder and currently clinic manager of Mediﬁt Clinic, a medical ﬁtness center that integrates exercise and nutrition for better quality of life. Her medical opinions on numerous sports medicine issues are aired monthly on Cosmopolitan FM radio. She is active with Drive Books Not Cars (a movement to provide books for under-privileged children) and Alzheimer Indonesia, participating in its awareness-raising road shows. In 2015, she was featured as one of Indonesia’s 15 Most Inspiring Women by Harper’s Bazaar. In 2019, Sophie oversaw the annual road show campaign that educated about 25,000 students about consent and identification of sexual violence and response; she also trained 150 youth volunteers as peer educators for the road show campaign.
Elisabeth is a researcher at the Center for Health Policy and Management, Gadjah Mada University Faculty of Medicine. With expertise in health service research and hospital management, she works to strengthen Indonesia’s health system by supporting hospitals to improve their services in collaboration with local government. Elisabeth’s work also involves maternal health, including the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Maternal and Neonatal Health, and performance management and leadership to improve health workers’ medical and management skills and capabilities. She is a member of a collaboration platform for health policy researchers and serves on an advisory team for the Indonesia Ministry of Health. Recently, Elisabeth has been involved in conducting research on the inequitable distributions of hospitals and health services in remote areas of Indonesia.
Tiara Marthias is a research fellow and lecturer at the Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada. She is currently undertaking her PhD with Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, focusing on addressing geographical inequality in maternal health care utilization in an Indonesian setting. She has worked with national and sub-national governments to develop equitable health planning and budgeting in limited- resource settings while fostering research collaboration with national and international organizations. She has carried out research projects on health financing, policy and program analysis as well as monitoring and evaluation of the Indonesian National Health Insurance program. Tiara’s keen interest lies in assessing reproductive health, maternal, neonatal, and child health with a focus on geographical equity. This has led her to assist 10 districts with developing more inclusive and equitable health planning and budgeting for maternal, neonatal, and child health programs in limited-resource areas in Indonesia. In 2019, Tiara has been involved in research projects to evaluate the Indonesian national health insurance program, in particular assessing equality in resource availability, service utilization, and health insurance fund usage across provinces in Indonesia.
NUR KHAULAH FADZIL
Khaulah is the humanitarian affairs adviser with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) based in Kuala Lumpur. She has worked with refugees in Malaysia and Lebanon, leading various community-based projects to improve livelihoods, access to health care, and prevention and response towards sexual and gender- based violence through her work with UNHCR and MAHAR. She advises the Malaysian National Youth Volunteer Programme (MYCORPS), an initiative of the Ministry of Youth & Sports Malaysia, through conducting needs assessments of local communities in South Asia and Africa. She is a policy officer at the Malaysian AIDS Council. Her training in public health is the foundation of her commitment to work towards a more inclusive society. Currently, Khaulah is collaborating with a community-based organization, Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN), and with a social enterprise, NASHPOTATOES, to develop and implement a project to improve access to healthcare services and livelihoods of Rohingya women living in Kuala Lumpur
HAN WIN HTAT
Dr. Htat is currently working as Executive Director at the Sun Community Health (SCH), a national non-profit healthcare organization in Myanmar with networks of over 1,300 general practitioners and 5,000 community-based health workers. At SCH, Dr. Htat is advancing socially beneficial purposes in Myanmar by promoting and providing information, services and products related to the prevention, promotion, curation and rehabilitation of the major health services including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, reproductive health and non-communicable diseases. He is passionate about strengthening health systems to tackle health and social inequity issues particularly those affecting the poor and vulnerable people living across Myanmar with the aim of furthering good health, prosperity and the relief of poverty, distress and sickness. He holds a master of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a medical degree from University of Medicine 2, Yangon.
BAWI MANG LIAN
Bawi is a Medical Officer in Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sport, where he works to monitor Myanmar’s National Health Plan and improve the distribution of health facilities. A general practitioner and assistant surgeon by training, Bawi is passionate about inequalities in the allocation of health resources in Myanmar, an interest fostered from living in Chin State where health status indicators are among the worst in the country. Limited resources reach ethnic minority and rural areas, where more than 70 percent of the country’s population reside, and the majority of poor and vulnerable people have limited or no access to health services. Bawi is a member of the Myanmar National Health Policy Re-formulating Core Group.
ABELARDO APOLLO DAVID, JR.
Abelardo (Archie) Apollo David Jr. is the founder of the Independent Living Learning Centre, Academia Progresiva de Manila, and the REACH Foundation, organizations that promote the education, health, and empowerment of youth with disabilities in the Philippines. Archie is passionate about promoting a more inclusive community through innovative, effective, and sustainable educational and health programs. He established Project TEACH, a community-based rehabilitation and education program that offers free services to children in poor communities, which won a 2015 United Nations Public Service Award. He is co-founder of TheraFree, a national volunteer program that reaches thousands of persons with disabilities in poor rural and urban areas. In 2019, Archie received an Autism Hero Award from the Autism Society Philippines and a Special Citation award from the Australian Embassy for his contribution to empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) and children with special needs and inclusive education.
NORAIDA ABDULLAH KARIM
Noraida is Mindanao Program Director at Community and Family Services International (CFSI) where she has worked for 18 years. In this position, she works to improve the resilience of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in conflict-affected areas, especially strengthening the reproductive health programs and services to alleviate issues associated with teenage pregnancies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. She also a member of CFSI training team that trained 100 Para-Social Workers from the Social Welfare Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on “Knowledge and Philosophical Foundation of Social Work for Social Service Catalysts in Bangsamoro Communities”. Noraida has received several awards for her commitment and leadership in promoting the well-being of the IDPs, strengthening national capability in social work, and community service, including Voice of Courage, Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service, Social Justice and Social Change Award, and the most recent “Outstanding Social Worker in the Philippines” Award. At the current, Noraida and her team are working on a project aimed at bridging the equity gap and lowering maternal mortality among indigenous people in Mindanao through strengthening local partnerships among key stakeholders, sharing evidence-based data and promoting innovative solutions, and fostering equity-focused actions to support the development of new leadership.
ABDEL JAMAL DISANGCOPAN
Abdel is a Law Reform Specialist at the University of the Philippines Law Center where he has developed expertise in key areas of law reform work. In response to requests from government agencies for legal assistance, and in liaison with legal experts, he develops coherent and compelling positions to ensure that agencies’ rules and regulations are in line with the Constitution and law. As a humanitarian and development worker, he previously served as Coordinator of Legal Issues for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, as Humanitarian Affairs Assistant for Tropical Storm Washi Response at UN OCHA, and as a Technical Assistant for Super Typhoon Haiyan Recovery at WHO Philippines. An attorney teaching law since 2016, Abdel has significant experience and training in human rights, specifically minority rights and international humanitarian law, which began when he worked for the state’s regional human rights commission as head of Provincial Office in Lanao Del Sur based in Marawi City in the now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Recently, he reconnected with his roots in the region for two projects to strengthen leadership capacity in legal reform and to generate context-specific policies for accessible and relevant maternal care services with the goal of reducing maternal mortality in the region.
ANA P. SANTOS
Ana is an independent journalist who writes about sexual health rights, HIV, and various gender issues. As the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting 2014 Miel Fellow, Ana reported on the social cost of migration focusing on Filipino nannies in the United Arab Emirates and France. Her reporting projects supported by the Pulitzer Center include investigating reproductive health (RH) and labor rights for au pairs in Denmark and guest workers in Qatar. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and Rappler. In 2017, Ana received the Award for Excellence in Reporting on Labour Migration from the International Labour Organization. Ana advocates for access to comprehensive sex education and RH services for Filipino youth. At present, Ana is working with the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health in Manila to launch a Teen Mom Scholarship program. This is the first community-based program that combines education, livelihood, and health to address teen pregnancy. The story of teen mom scholars will serve as a proof point for advocating for the development of funding and legislations to address the Philippines’ skyrocketing teen pregnancy rates.
Sharon has worked for more than 15 years in conflict- affected and fragile countries. She has experience in designing and rolling out humanitarian and development programs, including assessment, evaluation, and research projects across Asia and Africa. With social work and public health background as anchors, she was involved in the design of intersectoral organizational, program, and project-level monitoring and evaluation systems involving natural resource management, market development, governance and civil society, health, as well as education. She holds an MPH from the James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University (Bangladesh) and a BA in social work and history from the National University of Singapore. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in applied geographical information systems at the National University of Singapore. Sharon is also a member of the Health Systems Global Steering Committee of the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States.
BORWORNSOM (ACK) LEERAPAN
Borwornsom (Ack) is a health systems researcher and faculty member of Ramathibodi Medical School, Mahidol University. Previously a hospital director and practicing physician in Lamphun of northern Thailand, his observations of inequitable access to quality healthcare inspired him to pursue an academic career in health policy and management. Ack’s research applies systems thinking in solving complex issues such as regional governance of Thailand’s Universal Health Coverage, community-based health interventions for vulnerable populations, patient safety in primary care settings, and dynamics of health workforce planning. He also serves on the scientific advisory committee of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation.
Kotch is founder & CEO of Porous City Network, a landscape architecture social enterprise working to tackle climate change and increase urban resilience in Thailand and Southeast Asian cities. Kotch’s passion is solving urban ecological problems through landscape architecture solutions, and she believes public health should become a standard norm in urban development. In Bangkok, Kotch and her team turned an invaluable commercial property in the heart of the city into Chulalongkorn Centenary Park, a flood-proof, water- retention public green space. Kotch also works as a design consultant for Bangkok 250, a major redevelopment project for the city’s 250th anniversary. Kotch is an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, TED Fellow, and Asia Foundation Development Fellow. In 2019, Kotch was named one of 15 women leading the fight against climate change and she is in the TIME 100 Next 2019 list of the world most influential people. She received her master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Pairoj is Assistant CEO at the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, which seeks to empower individuals and organizations for a healthy society and environment. Previously a physician with the Ministry of Public Health, Pairoj also served as a doctor in a northeast community hospital where he was exposed to complex issues around health-seeking behaviour and the social determinants of health. This led him to his current role connecting public policy and practice, disease prevention and health promotion. Pairoj is also a frequent guest speaker for workshops and conferences and represents ThaiHealth in national committees related to food, physical activities, media and health information systems.
May is founder & CEO of LUKKID and Asian Leadership Academy. She seeks to empower organizations in healthcare, government, civil society, and business to innovate, grow, and challenge the status quo through design-led innovation processes. A design thinker interested in social issues, her passion is developing human-centered work processes that allow people to tackle social challenges through collaboration. She has led service design initiatives for healthcare personnel, teachers, and others. May’s goal is to extend her work beyond Thailand to address regional issues that involve cross-cultural and cross-border collaboration. May writes for Bangkok Biz News and is a member of the Global Shapers Community. May was named an Asia 21 Leader (2019) and she received her MBA from Stanford University.
CARMENEZA DOS SANTOS MONTEIRO
Carmen is a dedicated public policy and public management practitioner, previously serving as Director for Policy and Institutional Strengthening at the Asia Foundation and a public administration liaison officer for the Office of Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. Her other roles include President of the Australian Timor-Leste Development Awards Alumni Association and member of the Timor-Leste Policy Leaders Group supported by The Asia Foundation. She was Adviser to the Prime Minister on public policy and institutional reforms and served as Senior Coordinator to AusAID for governance for development.
Carmen’s passion is to work towards a just and equal society through fair, inclusive public policy formulation and implementation. She is a recipient of a number of awards, including the Australian Day Awards for outstanding work during Australia’s response to the 2006 humanitarian crisis in Timor- Leste, a 2016 Asia Foundation Development Fellow, a founding member of the Rotaract Club of Dili, East Timor Crisis Reflection Group, and “Hari’i Moris Foun,” a community-based organization for women’s literacy. Currently, she is focusing on a new project to educate the public and raise awareness on public policy through helping policy makers communicate better on current and new policies.
NGUYEN THI THAI LAN
Lan is a lecturer of social work at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Viet Nam National University where she teaches students and conducts social welfare research. She is also project coordinator for the Viet Nam Association School of Social work to support social work educators and train institutions for capacity strengthening. Since the late 1990s, Lan has been actively involved in the development of the field of social work in Viet Nam and is among the pioneers to create change through supporting access to health and social services for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, such as children in special circumstances, persons with disabilities, HIV/AIDs patients and marginalized groups.
NGUYEN TRAN NGUYEN
Nguyen is an official in the Office of People’s Committee of Dong Thap Province where he is responsible for healthcare and health insurance policies and works to expand health insurance coverage and health service provision. He is particularly interested in the growing elderly population in the Mekong Delta Region in Viet Nam, which is increasing demand for healthcare and social services and financial protection.
Nguyen is also a Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy, Dong Thap Medical College and coordinates local public health projects on tobacco control and elderly care. Nguyen is a member of the Dong Thap Province Public Health Association and vice chairman of the Pharmacy Association of Cao Lanh City.
BUI THI THUY
Thuy is the head of the Nursing Department at Viet Nam National Children’s Hospital, Hanoi where she is responsible for patient care activities and ensuring patient safety. She believes all people regardless of age, ethnicity, wealth, or poverty should have easy access to health services and healthcare. To support community health, she develops training programs and policies, such as those to support parents in caring for and understanding their child’s medical care needs. She also fundraises to support patients without medical insurance. She is an active member of the Viet Nam National Children’s Hospital nursing board, the executive board of Hanoi Nursing Association, and the Viet Nam Nursing Association. In 2019, Thuy and her team initiated a new program to promote the role of social workers in providing a long-term social care for children with special needs.
HOANG TU ANH
Tu Anh is founding member and Vice Director of the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, a leading organization in promoting gender equity, sexual and reproductive rights, and health justice in Viet Nam. She is passionate about empowering vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and enhancing state accountability. She has extensive experience working with disadvantaged groups in Viet Nam and the region and focuses on high-impact action research for empowerment, public education, programming and effective advocacy, and interventions.
She is the former chair of the Vietnam Sexual Rights Alliance, faculty member of the South East Asia Consortium on Gender, Sexuality and Health, member of the Board of Directors of the Asia-Pacific Research and Resource Center for Women (ARROW) and a co- founder of Partnership for Actions in Health Equity. Her current interests are civil society movements and gender-based violence toward married women and LGBT people using symbolic violence, heteronormativity and panopticon framework.
Channé Suy Lan
Channé is passionate about designing solutions that help people elevate their dignity and living conditions through improvements in health, education, and economic development. She has over 15 years of experience in system design and development using a human-centered design approach. She joined InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia (iLab SEA) as a Product Manager in August 2008 and became a Managing Director in 2014. She leads a small team of software engineers who work with government agencies, international humanitarian organizations, and telecommunication companies in Southeast Asia to identify opportunities and co-design, deploy, and launch information and communication solutions to improve public health, education, andsocial justice for communities in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. Channé is also a co-founder of ShareVisionTeam, a grassroots volunteer team of Cambodian developers; a co-founder of Snadai, a fair-trade social start-up; and the founder of the Khmer-language website Evithy, which is dedicated to science and technology. Channé graduated with a master’s degree in computer applications from Bangalore University in India and BA in computer science from Norton University, Cambodia. Channé also serves as an Advisory Council Member for Principles for Digital Development at Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the United Nations Foundation.
Deng Rui (Rita) is an Associate Professor at Kunming Medical University’s School of Public Health. A medical anthropologist by training, her current fieldwork and research focus on transnational migrant women’s sexual and reproductive health issues and health promotion in poverty reduction. Her research provides critical information to key stakeholders, enabling them to contribute to the improvement of health for ethnic minorities and poor populations in southwestern China. Rita’s research has led to a variety of follow-up initiatives supported by the Chinese government and international NGOs. As a council member to the Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), she also facilitates community-based health education and advocacy. In recent years, my research has focused more on health and poverty. Currently, I have received a national fund to study the Health Poverty Alleviation Program in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces.
SHI Nan (Harry) is a teacher at Peking University First Hospital, Peking University where he is responsible for student affairs at the clinical medical school. Previously Harry was Deputy Governor of Midu County, a poverty-stricken county in China’s Yunnan Province where he was responsible for health, food, and drug safety across the county, which are major tasks in China’s plans to eliminate poverty in the country by 2020. Harry’s experience in education and government administration complement his background as a doctor of internal medicine, a researcher, and administrator in a general hospital. Before taking his post in Yunnan, Harry practiced as a doctor of internal medicine at Peking University First Hospital where he also worked to promote health science and tobacco control.
SATIRIANTINAH BUR RASUANTO
Sati is passionate about enabling others to make a difference in society and believes entrepreneurs have a role to play in finding viable education and health equity solutions. She is the co-founder and former Managing Director of Endeavor Indonesia. Sati launched and built Endeavor Indonesia from the ground up into a vibrant network of over 250 mentors and experts supporting more than 35 scale-up companies such as Bukalapak, OnlinePajak, Kata.ai, Ruma & Kartuku (both acquired by Gojek), The Goods Dept, Cita Rasa Prima Group, and others. Under her leadership, Endeavor launched many flagship initiatives that help Indonesian entrepreneurs scale up their projects and companies by connecting them to networks, knowledge, talent, and investors, and providing them with a platform to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs as role models, mentors, and investors. Sati started her career as a financial consultant before joining the World Bank as an energy specialist/ operations officer. In 2009 she joined the government as special staff to the Chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM); she was also the founding Managing Editor of Strategic Review, the Indonesian journal of leadership, policy, and world affairs. In 2011, Sati was named a Yale World Fellow, Yale’s premier program for young leaders. Sati was also selected as a Kauffman Fellow in 2013, a global network based in Silicon Valley that focuses on high-growth and innovative companies.
Alay is a Lecturer with the Faculty of Economic and Business Management at the National University of Laos (NUOL), where he teaches econometrics, development studies, and regional economic integration. He has worked with both national and international organizations in conducting impact assessments for development projects across Lao PDR. Alay’s primary areas of expertise include monitoring and evaluation, policy and program analysis, and applied economic research with a focus on trade and poverty reduction. He has conducted numerous research projects in the fields of health economics, economic development, and international trade. Alay is experienced in developing and implementing complex field projects using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Alay is fluent in Lao, Thai, English, and Japanese.
Tharani is a Public Health Medicine Specialist with specialization in Health Economics, and a Medical Lecturer at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. She has 17 years of experience working with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia in diverse areas, notably in the area of Primary Health Care. She has particular interest in Health Economics, Health Systems Research and Health Policy; towards advancing health system goals of achieving Universal Health Coverage. Her doctoral thesis was on the economic evaluation rotavirus vaccination to inform its inclusion into the national immunization program Malaysia. MALAYSIA EI FELLOWS 1 2016 2017 Her current projects focus on child labor and child domestic work in Southeast Asia and migrant access to healthcare in Thailand and Malaysia. Prior to her current positions, Nicola worked with the UK’s Department for International Development, The Asia Foundation, and the International Labour Organization on forced and child labor. She received her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and her thesis examined the health needs of trafficked fishermen from Mekong countries and explored how potentially trafficked fishermen were identified and assisted in Thailand. She also hold an MSc from Kings College London. Currently, Tharani is investigating the gaps in policy protecting the health of migrants in Myanmar, China and Malaysia.
PAN MYAT MON
Pan is Country Program Manager of the Australian Volunteers program in Myanmar. Supported by the Australian government, this program aims to bring about sustainable social change and development in Myanmar through the efforts of Australian volunteers in the areas of education, economic growth, governance, the peace process, and democratic transition in Myanmar, as well as social and health reforms together with the Myanmar government. Pan focuses on improving social justice in health, and over the past eight years she has worked to address issues such HIV/AIDS, food security, disaster risk reduction, maternal and children’s health, among other issues, often focusing on remote border areas such as Rakhine State, Kayin State, and Shan State. Recognized as a Rising Star for leadership and women’s empowerment by Wedu, Pan has participated in various regional conferences including as an invited distinguished guest at Tsinghua University’s Research Center for Public Health.
WAI WAI HAN
Wai is Research Officer in the Department of Medical Research, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar. Wai is a qualitative and quantitative social scientist and has been carrying out extensive research on communicable disease, maternal and child health, and reproductive health. She has a keen interest in social justice in health care and her research focuses on access to health care and utilization of health services among vulnerable populations. Currently she is working on quality improvement in the field of primary health care. She lectures on research methods training and also mentors for National Structured Operational Research Training Initiative courses.
ARIEL CARINGAL HERNANDEZ
Ariel Hernandez, known as Ayi to his friends and colleagues, has been a social development professional for more than 28 years. His exposure and continuing understanding of the root causes of war and conflicts in Mindanao generated his strong commitment to peace and development work. Ayi’s lifelong passions are combating rural poverty and promoting peace, and as Senior Director of Balay Mindanao Foundation, a nonprofit organization, he directs those passions toward promoting equity-based development and sustainable peace. A former congressman, Ayi has extensive on-the-ground experience in local participatory governance and development planning, peacebuilding and conflict management, and security sector engagement and partnerships. These areas of expertise over the years have provided him a solid network among civil society groups, government including police and military institutions, business organizations, and academia in the Philippines, ASEAN countries and in some parts of Europe and the United States. He received the Bayanihan Civilian Award of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2016 and was a 2017 Distinguished Eisenhower Fellow. Currently, he works in the Office of the President Advisers on Peace Reconciliation and Unity and serves as Chair of Armed Forces of the Philippines Leadership Development Center.
BEVERLY LORRAINE HO
Beverly Lorraine Ho is the OIC-Undersecretary of Health of the Public Health Services Team, and concurrent Director for Health Promotion Bureau and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau at the Department of Health - Philippines. As OIC-Undersecretary, she oversees the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and Epidemiology Bureau. As HPB Director, she leads risk communication and community engagement and demand generation for COVID-19 vaccines. As DPCB Director, she leads primary care integration of various health programs.
Prior to this, she was Chief of Research Division of the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau where her efforts significantly contributed to the passage of keylegislation on sugar-sweetened beverage tax, tobacco tax and universal health care. She has also worked in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.
Bev is a fellow of the Maurice Greenberg World Fellows Program at Yale University, the Equity Initiative and the Atlantic Institute. She holds an MD from the University of the Philippines and an MPH in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Fulbright Scholar.
BENJAMIN LAWRENCE PATRICK E. ARITAO
Benjamin Lawrence Patrick E. ARITAO is the National Director of Prosecution Development at International Justice Mission, Philippines. He manages a team that supports efficient government prosecutions as a means to lower the prevalence of sex trafficking crimes. He has served in this capacity for two years. Law, as his friends and family call him, also worked as the International Justice Mission’s Director of Legal Interventions in two regions of the Philippines from 2013 to 2016 before taking on his current role. He spent his first five years with IJM providing service to individual survivors, representing them in their court cases against human traffickers. Law also co-founded The Paper Project Inc., a socially responsible business that provides livelihood for women escaping exploitation and abuse. Its products are available through Good Paper, Inc. which distributes handmade cards from handmade paper to Whole Foods, Paper Chase, and other retailers in North America. Law loves photography, writing, and coffee. He is married to Carla, with whom he has two children: Hannah, 6, Rafael, 3. They live in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Somporn is a health advocate with expertise in community health impact assessment (CHIA). She develops concepts, guidelines, methodologies, and tools for CHIA and works with rights litigators and academics to facilitate CHIA learning in Thailand and Myanmar. After working for two years as a nurse at Siriraj Hospital, she returned to her home province of Udon Thani, where she served as a professor at Boromrajchonnani Udon Thani Nursing College. She gained experience in health impact assessment at the Office of Health System Reform and the National Health Commission Office. She believes CHIA is a tool that empowers communities to engage in the public policy process and advocate for sustainable development and health equity. In 2012, Somporn published a guidebook titled Revitalizing Thailand’s Community Health Impact Assessment to introduce the CHIA process and its implications for policy making. Recently, Somporn has been leading a project that applies the CHIA process to address concerns over cross-border air pollution from a Laos power plant by empowering the ethnic communities to have the capacity for monitoring the impact of the dam on humans and the environment and then negotiate with policy makers.
Santi Lapbenjakul is Director of Lam Sonthi Hospital in Lopburi, Thailand and, as President of the Lopburi Model Program, he has become a champion of care for the elderly. The Lopburi Model Program works in collaboration with the government to train caregivers and redirect healthcare resources toward home care. The model has been adopted throughout the country, and Santi has won numerous national public health awards for his contributions for health promotion in elderly, disabled, and rural communities. He is a key person in the Ministry of Public Health responsible for the ongoing reform of primary care systems in Thailand. He is also in charge of the national program to develop family medicine/doctor training system in the country.
Kanapon (Tum) Phumratprapin is the CEO and co-founder of Health at Home, a health technology start-up designed to bridge the gap between hospital and home care by facilitating home care for the elderly. A qualified geriatrician affectionately known as Dr. Tum, he combines his expertise in geriatric medicine with his passion for home healthcare technology, in recognition of the needs of Thailand’s growing elderly population and the capacity of its health care system. Health at Home includes screening and providing caregivers, offers a service that matches caregivers to elderly patients, and covers telemedicine for home consultations. Tum previously started other health-related entrepreneurial endeavors, including reviewing community hospitals throughout Thailand to match medical students with internships.
LUONG THE HUY
Huy is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) activist and a Director of iSEE Institute in Viet Nam. He began volunteering in LGBTI advocacy work in 2008. In 2011, he officially joined the LGBTI rights movement and worked on the community’s communications and capacity building work, dealing with the press, schools, and health centers. Since 2013, Huy has focused on research, policy advocacy, and community building at the national, regional, and international levels. His efforts have fostered important policy dialogues with the government during campaigns to amend the Law on Marriage and Family to include same-sex union rights and pass a civil code that recognizes transgender individuals. He has also advised on Viet Nam’s participation in UN Human Rights Council mechanisms. In 2014, Huy was named the most prominent LGBTI person of the year by ICS Center: Information Connecting and Sharing and Mot The Gioi newspaper. In 2016, Huy was on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” for Viet Nam. He holds a law degree from Ho Chi Minh City School of Law and a Master of Law and sexuality degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
NGUYEN THI LAN ANH
Lan-Anh has over 18 years of experience working in the fields of disability and development. A person with disability, Lan Anh realized her calling was to help people with disabilities live in a barrier-free society. She is founder and Director of Action at the Community Development Center, a Hanoi-based NGO, where she works to empower communities of people with disabilities (PWDs), especially women and youth and those living in poverty. In 2013, Lan Anh received “Vision Award for Inspiring Women” in recognizing of her efforts to take idea and turn it into reality. She was a strong advocate for Viet Nam’s successful ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2014, and currently she plays an active role in monitoring its implementation through the Organization of Persons with Disabilities (DPO). She holds various leadership position to enhance the social movement of PWDs, including Vice Chairwoman of the club for women with disabilities in Hanoi, Board Member of Vietnamese Federation on Disabilities (VFD), and a Steering Committee Member of Vietnam Women’s Union. Lan Anh is also a co-founder of newly established research institute focusing on disability studies to inform evidence-based planning and policies for improving the lives of PWDs.
DO THUY DUONG
Duong has vast experience in working with public and private organisations to build their leadership capacities and help them to be better leveraging the human capital. In 2008, she founded a consultancy firm – TalentPool to apply innovative concepts in creating workplace well-being and enhancing organisation effectiveness. Her efforts are focused on consistent themes of inspiring people and influencing policy and her inspiration in life is to motivate people and help them grow and prosper.
In 2017, Duong was a co-author of a book on remarkable Vietnamese women tittle “Ba Trieu’s 21st Century Daughters” with the aim of inspiring readers to imagine what is possible. Duong holds various leadership positions to enhance the quality of life for women, including Vice President of the Hanoi Women Entrepreneurs Association and founder of the Women Leaders Network. Duong is elected member of Hanoi People’s Council in the term of 2016-2021 and active member of Culture and Social Welfare Committee. She is actively involved in a number of the Hanoi City’s initiatives, including youth personal growth, public school safety improvement, and promoting the importance of mental health and well-being in the workplace.
Chhorvann is the Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Cambodia. He also teaches epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Public Health, National Institute of Public Health and the University of Health Sciences and leads various research related to maternal and child health and the health system in Cambodia. Chhorvann has become a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Cambodia and has written extensively on disease prevalence, changing behavioral patterns among Cambodian sex workers, and early warning indicators of HIV drug resistance, among other topics. He serves on multiple ministerial committees concerning health and education in Cambodia where he contributes to drafting health-related laws, developing a PhD program for higher education in Cambodia, and professorship in the health sector. Most recently, Chhorvann has been working on a health equity training curriculum for health center managers and hospital managers.
SI Zhanjie is the Director of Aizhen, a non- governmental civil society organization based in Yunnan Province. Aizhen’s mission is to serve people affected by leprosy in China through community-based rehabilitation development. The organization has served more than 1,000 leprosy patients and people with disabilities to address their psychological, physical, social and economic problems. It also works to increase social participation and empower the local community to develop their own leaders.
Chenhui is the CEO of Family Doctor Services and was co-founder and former Chief Operating Officer of Apricot Forest, Inc., a leading mobile health startup in China used by over a quarter of Chinese doctors. It was ranked by Fast Company as one the world’s 50 most innovative companies in 2015. While in medical school, Chenhui initiated an online public health education network that led to the establishment of the Chinese Medical Student Association. Recently, Chenhui has been working on providing online and offline family doctor services to people in remote areas of China, as well as improving the access of hepatitis C drugs and improving patient management through online hospital services. Chenhui has a master of public health degree and Peking Union Medical College with a doctor of medicine degree and graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to this she was a China Medical Board Fellow and published an article on the Lancet Global Commission Report ‘Health Professionals for a New Century: Transforming Education to Strengthen Health Systems in an Interdependent World.’ She was also selected into the 2017 Class of Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative.
Nila is a communications professional who has spent much of her career working in multinational companies in Indonesia and Singapore. In 2013, she founded Rainbow Reading Garden, an NGO focused on children’s literacy that provides access to books to children who live in remote areas of Eastern Indonesia. In six years, she has built more than 100 children’s libraries across 18 islands, benefiting over 30,000 children and distributing more than 250,000 books. Nila holds a master’s degree in European communication studies from Universiteit van Amsterdam, in The Netherlands and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Parahyangan Catholic University where she was named “Best Graduate of The Year.” Nila was named a 2018 Eisenhower Innovation Fellow.
Soulivanh is Chief of Physicians at Vientiane Hope Hospital and Lao Medical Care Center in Vientiane. Previously, he served in the Ministry of Health of Laos for 7 years as Director of Foreign Relations and Secretary to the Minister. Soulivanh is committed to creating an efficient and affordable healthcare service model as an alternative to the current public hospital system in Lao PDR. In 2016, Soulivanh established a 24-hour care medical center that provides key essential services to patients at low cost, providing care for more than 75,000 patients in 2017 alone.
After its first 3 years of operating, the medical center has been ranked one of the top 100 businesses in Lao PDR. Soulivanh’s next step to expand low-cost health services in his country is opening a 100-bed hospital in Vientiane.
NICOLA SUYIN POCOCK
Nicola is a mixed methods researcher and Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Nicola also is a consultant with the United Nations University – International Institute of Global Health, working on migration, forced labor, and health within the Urban Health team. Her research interests are in migration, human trafficking, and health, including how service delivery and financing can be improved for migrant workers in destination countries.
Her current projects focus on child labor and child domestic work in Southeast Asia and migrant access to healthcare in Thailand and Malaysia. Prior to her current positions, Nicola worked with the UK’s Department for International Development, The Asia Foundation, and the International Labour Organization on forced and child labor. She received her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and her thesis examined the health needs of trafficked fishermen from Mekong countries and explored how potentially trafficked fishermen were identified and assisted in Thailand. She also hold an MSc from Kings College London.
Tim is a co-founder and Executive Director of myME: Myanmar Mobile Education Project, which provides education via mobile classrooms to children in Myanmar who have been compelled into indentured servitude at teashop restaurants. From 2010 to 2012, Tim was the Director of Outreach of Burma Global Action Network where he advocated for Burmese issues, and in 2009 was he an Inaugural Carl Wilkens Fellow with the Genocide Intervention Network. In 2019, Tim became the chairperson for Non-Formal Education Consortium, Myanmar; in 2017, he became the Focal Person for the Education, Technical, and Vocational Sector Coordination Group, Ministry of Education, Myanmar.
Jeremy is the co-founder and CEO of AMiLi, the first dedicated gut microbiome full service company in Southeast Asia. He is also co-director of global health at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health where he works to enhance cooperation, capacity building and knowledge sharing across the region. Trained in surgery and public health, Jeremy attained various post graduate qualifications including membership in the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), masters of medicine (NUS) and masters of public health (Johns Hopkins, as a Fulbright scholarship awardee). He was an inaugural fellow of the Asia Society A21 young leaders program in 2006.
Jeremy has a special interest in ways that technology can increase health equity and access to care. He advises a number of health technology companies and programs in the region and globally. He also serves on the boards of/advises various charities and social enterprises, including HealthServe, Dover Park Hospice and SNTC. Jeremy has worked in executive roles in both public and private sectors, including time spent as a senior official in the Ministry of Health, Singapore and was prior to AMiLi, founding partner of global consultancy Oliver Wyman’s Asia health and life sciences practice (2013).
He is a regular commentator on health issues in the region and in 2013 authored Myth or Magic: The Singapore Healthcare System. He is currently working on a book on health innovation.
Jiruth is working at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University as Associate Professor for Preventive and Social Medicine; he also serves as Deputy Director for Medical Research Affairs at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital (KCMH). Since 2009, he has been a lead assessor of the Thailand Quality Award program – the Baldrige National Quality Program equivalent in Thailand – and a member of the technical subcommittee of the program in 2015. His previous positions include Assistant Director of King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital of the Thai Red Cross, a 1,500-bed university-affiliated medical center in Bangkok; Assistant to the President of Chulalongkorn University; and Deputy Director, Strategy and Quality Improvement Affairs of KCMH, during which time the hospital won the Thailand Quality Class Award in 2013. In 2017, he was appointed by the Thai Cabinet to be a member of the Independent Committee on Education Reform and has been involved in drafting laws aiming to promote equity and quality in education, including the Fund for Educational Equity Law and the National Education laws. Jiruth has a wide range of experience in health system research and management in health service systems, hospital quality management, and universal health coverage. He was on the task force for developing Thai universal coverage policies and evaluating quality under the National Health Security Scheme. Jiruth’s most recent project focused on performance measurement, review, and improvement systems for primary care in Thailand, the scope of which includes equity as one of the performance areas.
Natalie is CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Thailand. Prior to joining WWF, she was an Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she managed the Transforming Health Systems Initiative in Asia and was instrumental in the Foundation’s advocacy for universal health coverage (UHC). She has also facilitated the institutionalization of the Mekong Basin Diseases Surveillance Network (MBDS), a regional network that is now the MBDS Foundation. Natalie has over 15 years of experience in development in Asia. Early in her career, she was based in Lao PDR and Honduras for the International Monetary Fund and United Nations Development Programs. Natalie serves on steering committees for global movements to improve health, including UHC 2030/IHP+ Initiative and the Joint Learning Network.
Chalermsak is the Coordinator for Access to Medicines Campaign of the AIDS Access Foundation, Thailand. Early in his career, he focused on intellectual property (IP) and access to medicines as he worked with Oxfam Great Britain to overcome the IP barriers that made affordable anti-retroviral medicines inaccessible to many. He joined Thai civil society’s policy advocacy to oppose negotiations of the free trade agreements proposed by the USA and the EU, which proposed IP provisions more stringent than the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). In addition, he worked with academics and civic groups to encourage the Thai government to implement the Government Use License to promote access to lifesaving drugs. He joined AIDS Access Foundation in 2013, where he continues monitoring policies affecting access to medicines, including negotiations of free trade agreements (e.g., the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and the European Union); amendments to the Patent Act and the National Health Security Act; central procurement of pharmaceuticals; and filing opposition to unmerited patent applications for medicines, particularly the ones used for hepatitis C and HIV treatments.
PHAM KIEU OANH
Oanh is a pioneer and an expert in social entrepreneurship development, child protection, and women’s rights. Currently, Oanh is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP) – a highly respected Vietnamese nonprofit organization credited with nurturing the country’s social enterprise ecosystem and building a new sector for social entrepreneurship in the country.
Oanh is actively involved in social enterprise movements including co-founding the Social Enterprise Asian Network and the Vietnam Social Entrepreneurs Club. She is also a member of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme and a Trustee of AirAsia Foundation. Over the last decades, she held various positions in government agencies, international nongovernmental organizations, and UN agencies. Since 2017, Oanh and her team have been developing and implementing a national program called En Xanh (Blue Swallows) to build, accelerate, and recognize business initiatives for social change; its objectives are to promote an entrepreneurial spirit and accelerate innovative and scalable business solutions that will support progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. To date, the program has helped over 50 social enterprise working to tackle societal and environment challenges, which has brought positive change to the lives of more than 200,000 people.
NGUYEN THU HA
NGUYEN Thu Ha is Executive Director and Morning News Producer of Viet Nam Television with 18 years experience working in documentaries, news, and current affairs. She is a correspondent and host of major national TV events and debates on social issues, including gender and domestic violence, women’s health, and HIV/AIDS. Ha was involved in developing and leading O2TV Channel, the first TV channel specializing on health in Viet Nam.
HOANG VAN MINH
Minh is currently working at the Hanoi University of Public Health as Associate Professor, Vice Rector, and Director of the Center for Population Health Sciences. An expert on Viet Nam’s healthcare system, Minh publishes widely in national and international scientific journals and has contributed to research studies on health and healthcare in Viet Nam; his research has focused on a range of topics, including the social determinants of health, non-communicable diseases, and universal health coverage.
Minh is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health and Development Studies and is especially interested in socio-economic inequities in health in Viet Nam. A number of his research projects have shown that progress in reducing health and health care inequities has significantly improved in recent years but still requires further attention, especially health and healthcare for ethnic minority populations, worse-off groups (including the poor and informal sector workers), and the elderly. Previously, Minh was Vice Dean of the Hanoi School of Public Health and Vice Head of the Department of Health Economics, Institute of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University.
PHAN THI THUY TRAM
PHAN Thi Thuy Tram is Deputy Director, Macro- economics and Strategies Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment. She is Vice President of Vietnam Assoc. of Science & Technology Young Intellectuals, Vice President of Central Agencies’ Young Doctorate Club, and President of Vietnam Social Enterprise Network. She actively leverages broad community networks to spread awareness about social injustice, social-economic problems, and actions towards improving life for disadvantaged groups, especially domestic violence victims and children with autism.
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